Old Calabria
By Norman Douglas

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You may spend pleasant days in this city of Cosenza, doing nothing whatever. But I go there a for set purpose, and bristling with energy. I go there to hunt for a book by a certain Salandra, which was printed on the spot, and which I have not yet been able to find, although I once discovered it in an old catalogue, priced at 80 grani. Gladly would I give 8000 for it!

The author was a contemporary of that Flying Monk of whom I spoke in Chapter X, and he belonged to the same religious order. If, in what I then said about the flying monk, there appears to be some trace of light fooling in regard to this order and its methods, let amends be made by what I have to tell about old Salandra, the discovery of whose book is one of primary importance for the history of English letters. Thus I thought at the time; and thus I still think, with all due deference to certain grave and discerning gentlemen, the editors of various English monthlies to whom I submitted a paper on this subject–a paper which they promptly returned with thanks. No; that is not quite correct. One of them has kept it; and as six years have passed over our heads, I presume he has now acquired a title by “adverse possession.” Much good may it do him!

Had the discovery been mine, I should have endeavoured to hide my light under the proverbial bushel. But it is not mine, and therefore I make bold to say that Mr. Bliss Perry, of the “Atlantic Monthly,” knew better than his English colleagues when he published the article from which I take what follows.

“Charles Dunster (’Considerations on Milton’s Early Reading,’ etc., 1810) traces the prima stamina of ’Paradise Lost’ to Sylvester’s ’Du Bartas.’ Masenius, Cedmon, Vendei, and other older writers have also been named in this connection, while the majority of Milton’s English commentators–and among foreigners Voltaire and Tiraboschi–are inclined to regard the ’Adamus Exul’ of Grotius or Andreini’s sacred drama of ’Adamo’ as the prototype.”

This latter can be consulted in the third volume of Cowper’s ’Milton’ (1810).

The matter is still unsettled, and in view of the number of recent scholars who have interested themselves in it, one is really surprised that no notice has yet been taken of an Italian article which goes far towards deciding this question and proving that the chief source of ’Paradise Lost’ is the ’Adamo Caduto,’ a sacred tragedy by Serafino della Salandra. The merit of this discovery belongs to Francesco Zicari, whose paper, ’Sulla scoverta dell’ originale italiano da cui Milton trasse il suo poema del paradiso perduto,’ is printed on pages 245 to 276 in the 1845 volume of the Naples ’Album scientifico- artistico-letterario’ now lying before me. It is in the form of a letter addressed to his friend Francesco Ruffa, a native of Tropea in Calabria. [Footnote: Zicari contemplated another paper on this subject, but I am unaware whether this was ever published. The Neapolitan Minieri-Riccio, who wrote his ’Memorie Storiche’ in 1844, speaks of this article as having been already printed in 1832, but does not say where. This is corroborated by N. Falcone (’Biblioteca storica-topo-grafica della Calabria,’ 2nd ed., Naples, 1846, pp. 151-154), who gives the same date, and adds that Zicari was the author of a work on the district of Fuscaldo. He was born at Paola in Calabria, of which he wrote a (manuscript) history, and died in 1846. In this Milton article, he speaks of his name being ’unknown in the republic of letters.’. He it mentioned by Nicola Leoni (’ Della Magna Grecia,’ vol. ii, p. 153),]

Salandra, it is true, is named among the writers of sacred tragedies in Todd’s ’Milton’ (1809, vol. ii, p. 244), and also by Hayley, but neither of them had the curiosity, or the opportunity, to examine his ’Adamo Caduto’; Hayley expressly says that he has not seen it. More recent works, such as that of Moers (’De fontibus Paradisi Amissi Miltoniani,’ Bonn, 1860), do not mention Salandra at all. Byse (’Milton on the Continent,’ 1903) merely hints at some possible motives for the Allegro and the Penseroso.

As to dates, there can be no doubt to whom the priority belongs. The ’Adamo’ of Salandra was printed at Cosenza in 1647. Richardson thinks that Milton entered upon his ’Paradise Lost’ in 1654, and that it was shown, as done, in 1665; D. Masson agrees with this, adding that ’it was not published till two years afterwards.’ The date 1665 is fixed, I presume, by the Quaker Elwood’s account of his visit to Milton in the autumn of that year, when the poet gave him the manuscript to read; the two years’ delay in publication may possibly have been due to the confusion occasioned by the great plague and fire of London.

The castigation bestowed upon Lauder by Bishop Douglas, followed, as it was, by a terrific ’back-hander’ from the brawny arm of Samuel Johnson, induces me to say that Salandra’s ’Adamo Caduto,’ though extremely rare–so rare that neither the British Museum nor the Paris Bibliotheque Nationale possesses a copy–is not an imaginary book; I have had it in my hands, and examined it at the Naples Biblioteca Nazionale; it is a small octavo of 251 pages (not including twenty unnumbered ones, and another one at the end for correction of misprints); badly printed and bearing all the marks of genuineness, with the author’s name and the year and place of publication clearly set forth on the title-page. I have carefully compared Zicari’s references to it, and quotations from it with the original. They are correct, save for a few insignificant verbal discrepancies which, so far as I can judge, betray no indication of an attempt on his part to mislead the reader, such as using the word tromba (trumpet) instead of Salandra’s term sambuca (sackbut). And if further proof of authenticity be required, I may note that the ’Adamo Caduto’ of Salandra is already cited in old bibliographies like Toppi’s ’Biblioteca Napoletana’ (1678), or that of Joannes a S. Antonio (’Biblioteca universa Franciscana, etc.,’ Madrid, 1732-1733, vol. iii, p. 88). It appears to have been the only literary production of its author, who was a Franciscan monk and is described as ’Preacher, Lector and Definitor of the Reformed Province of Basilicata.’

We may take it, then, that Salandra was a real person, who published a mystery called ’Adamo Caduto’ in 1647; and I will now, without further preamble, extract from Zicari’s article as much as may be sufficient to show ground for his contention that Milton’s ’Paradise Lost’ is a transfusion, in general and in particular, of this same mystery.

Salandra’s central theme is the Universe shattered by the disobedience of the First Man, the origin of our unhappiness and sins. The same with Milton.

Salandra’s chief personages are God and His angels; the first man and woman; the serpent; Satan and his angels. The same with Milton.

Salandra, at the opening of his poem (the prologue), sets forth his argument, and dwells upon the Creative Omnipotence and his works. The same with Milton.

Salandra then describes the council of the rebel angels, their fall from heaven into a desert and sulphurous region, their discourses. Man is enviously spoken of, and his fall by means of stratagem decided upon; it is resolved to reunite in council in Pandemonium or the Abyss, where measures may be adopted to the end that man may become the enemy of God and the prey of hell. The same with Milton.

Salandra personifies Sin and Death, the latter being the child of the former. The same with Milton.

Salandra describes Omnipotence foreseeing the effects of the temptation and fall of man, and preparing his redemption. The same with Milton.

Salandra depicts the site of Paradise and the happy life there. The same with Milton.

Salandra sets forth the miraculous creation of the universe and of man, and the virtues of the forbidden fruit. The same with Milton.

Salandra reports the conversation between Eve and the Serpent; the eating of the forbidden fruit and the despair of our first parents. The same with Milton.

Salandra describes the joy of Death at the discomfiture of Eve; the rejoicings in hell; the grief of Adam; the flight of our first parents, their shame and repentance. The same with Milton.

Salandra anticipates the intercession of the Redeemer, and the overthrow of Sin and Death; he dwells upon the wonders of the Creation, the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, and other human ills; the vices of the Antediluvians, due to the fall of Adam; the infernal gift of war. The same with Milton.

Salandra describes the passion of Jesus Christ, and the comforts which Adam and Eve receive from the angel who announces the coming of the Messiah; lastly, their departure from the earthly paradise. The same with Milton.

So much for the general scheme of both poems. And now for a few particular points of resemblance, verbal and otherwise.

The character of Milton’s Satan, with the various facets of pride, envy, vindictiveness, despair, and impenitence which go to form that harmonious whole, are already clearly mapped out in the Lucifero of Salandra. For this statement, which I find correct, Zicari gives chapter and verse, but it would take far too long to set forth the matter in this place. The speeches of Lucifero, to be sure, read rather like a caricature–it must not be forgotten that Salandra was writing for lower-class theatrical spectators, and not for refined readers–but the elements which Milton has utilized are already there.

Here is a coincidence:

Here we may reign secure . . .

Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.

MILTON (i, 258)

. . . . Qui propria voglia, Son capo, son qui duce, son lor Prence.

SALANDRA (p. 49).

And another:

. . . Whom shall we find Sufficient?
. . . This enterprise None shall
partake with me.
–MILTON (ii, 403, 465).
A chi bastera l’ anima di voi?
. . . certo che quest’ affare
A la mia man s’ aspetta.
–SALANDRA (p. 64).

Milton’s Terror is partially taken from the Megera of the Italian poet. The ’grisly Terror’ threatens Satan (ii, 699), and the office of Megera, in Salandra’s drama, is exactly the same–that is, to threaten and chastise the rebellious spirit, which she does very effectually (pages 123-131). The identical monsters–Cerberus, Hydras, and Chimseras–are found in their respective abodes, but Salandra does not content himself with these three; his list includes such a mixed assemblage of creatures as owls, basilisks, dragons, tigers, bears, crocodiles, sphynxes, harpies, and panthers. Terror moves with dread rapidity:

. . . and from his seat
The monster moving onward came as fast
With horrid strides.
–MILTON (ii, 675).

and so does Megera:

In atterir, in spaventar son . . .
Rapido si ch’ ogni ripar e vano.
–SALANDRA (p. 59).

Both Milton and Salandra use the names of the gods of antiquity for their demons, but the narrative epic of the English poet naturally permitted of far greater prolixity and variety in this respect. A most curious parallelism exists between Milton’s Belial and that of Salandra. Both are described as luxurious, timorous, slothful, and scoffing, and there is not the slightest doubt that Milton has taken over these mixed attributes from the Italian. [Footnote: This is one of the occasions in which Zicari appears, at first sight, to have stretched a point in order to improve his case, because, in the reference he gives, it is Behemoth, and not Belial, who speaks of himielf as cowardly (imbelle). But in another place Lucifer applies this designation to Belial as well,]

The words of Milton’s Beelzebub (ii, 368):

  Seduce them to our party, that their god
  May prove their foe . . .

are copied from those of the Italian Lucifero (p. 52):

  . . . Facciam Accio, che l’ huom divenga
  A Dio nemico . . .

Regarding the creation of the world, Salandra asks (p. 11):

  Qual lingua puo di Dio,
  Benche da Dio formato
  Lodar di Dio le meraviglie estreme?

which is thus echoed by Milton (vii, 112):

  . . . to recount almighty works
  What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice?

There is a considerable resemblance between the two poets in their descriptions of Paradise and of its joys. In both poems, too, Adam warns his spouse of her frailty, and in the episode of Eve’s meeting with the serpent there are no less than four verbal coincidences. Thus Salandra writes (p. 68):

    Ravviso gli animal, ch’ a schiera a schiera
    Gia fanno humil e reverente inclino . . .
    Ravveggio il bel serpente avvolto in giri;
    O sei bello
    Con tanta varieta che certo sembri
    Altro stellato ciel, smaltata terra.
    O che sento, tu parli?

and Milton transcribes it as follows (ix, 517-554):

    . . . She minded not, as used
    To such disport before her through the field
    From every beast, more duteous at her call . . .
    Curled many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve.
    His turret crest and sleek enamelled neck . . .
    What may this mean?
    Language of man pronounced
    By tongue of brute?

Altogether, Zicari has observed that Rolli, although unacquainted with the ’Adamo Caduto,’ has sometimes inadvertently hit upon the same words in his Italian translation of Milton which Salandra had used before him.

Eve’s altered complexion after the eating of the forbidden fruit is noted by both poets:

Torbata ne la faccia? Non sei quella

Qual ti lasciai contenta . . .–SALANDRA (p. 89).

Thus Eve with countenance blithe her story told;

But in her cheek distemper flushing glowed. –MILTON (ix, 886).

only with this difference, that the Italian Eve adds a half-lie by way of explaining the change:

  . . . Forse cangiata (del che non mi avveggio)
  Sono nel volto per la tua partenza.–(p. 89).

In both poems Sin and Death reappear on the scene after the transgression.

The flight of Innocence from earth; the distempered lust which dominates over Adam and Eve after the Fall; the league of Sin and Death to rule henceforward over the world; the pathetic lament of Adam regarding his misfortune and the evils in store for his progeny; his noble sentiment, that none can withdraw himself from the all-seeing eye of God–all these are images which Milton has copied from Salandra.

Adam’s state of mind, after the fall, is compared by Salandra to a boat tossed by impetuous winds (p. 228):

  Qual agitato legno d’Austro, e Noto,
  Instabile incostante, non hai pace,
  Tu vivi pur . . .

which is thus paraphrased in Milton (ix, 1122):

  . . . High winds worse within
  Began to rise . . . and shook sore
  Their inward state of mind, calm region once
  And full of peace, now tossed and turbulent.

Here is a still more palpable adaptation:

  ... So God ordains:
  God is thy law, thou mine.
  –MILTON (iv, 636)
  . . . . Un voler sia d’ entrambi,
  E quel’ uno di noi, di Dio sia tutto.
  –SALANDRA (p. 42).

After the Fall, according to Salandra, vacillo la terra (i), geme (2), e pianse (3), rumoreggiano i tuoni (4), accompagnati da grandini (5), e dense nevi (6), (pp. 138, 142, 218). Milton translates this as follows: Earth trembled from her entrails (1), and nature gave a second groan (2); sky loured and, muttering thunders (4), some sad drops wept (3), the winds, armed with ice and snow (6) and hail (5). (’Paradise Lost,’ ix, 1000, x. 697).

Here is another translation:

  . . . inclino il ciclo
  Giu ne la terra, e questa al Ciel innalza.
  –SALANDRA (p. 242).
  And Earth be changed to Heaven, and Heaven to Earth.
  –MILTON (vii, 160).

It is not to my purpose to do Zicari’s work over again, as this would entail a complete translation of his long article (it contains nearly ten thousand words), to which, if the thing is to be done properly, must be appended Salandra’s ’Adamo,’ in order that his quotations from it can be tested. I will therefore refer to the originals those who wish to go into the subject more fully, warning them, en passant, that they may find the task of verification more troublesome than it seems, owing to a stupid mistake on Zicari’s part. For in his references to Milton, he claims (p. 252) to use an 1818 Venice translation of the ’Paradise Lost’ by Rolli. Now Rolli’s ’Paradiso Perduto’ is a well-known work which was issued in many editions in London, Paris, and Italy throughout the eighteenth century. But I cannot trace this particular one of Venice, and application to many of the chief libraries of Italy has convinced me that it does not exist, and that 1818 must be a misprint for some other year. The error would be of no significance if Zicari had referred to Rolli’s ’Paradiso’ by the usual system of cantos and lines, but he refers to it by pages, and the pagination differs in every one of the editions of Rolli which have passed through my hands. Despite every effort, I have not been able to hit upon the precise one which Zicari had in mind, and if future students are equally unfortunate, I wish them joy of their labours. [Footnote: Let me take this opportunity of expressing my best thanks to Baron E. Tortora Brayda, of the Naples Biblioteca Nazionale, who has taken an infinity of trouble in this matter.]

These few extracts, however, will suffice to show that, without Salandra’s ’Adamo,’ the ’Paradise Lost,’ as we know it, would not be in existence; and that Zicari’s discovery is therefore one of primary importance for English letters, although it would be easy to point out divergencies between the two works–divergencies often due to the varying tastes and feelings of a republican Englishman and an Italian Catholic, and to the different conditions imposed by an epic and a dramatic poem. Thus, in regard to this last point, Zicari has already noted (p. 270) that Salandra’s scenic acts were necessarily reproduced in the form of visions by Milton, who could not avail himself of the mechanism of the drama for this purpose. Milton was a man of the world, traveller, scholar, and politician; but it will not do for us to insist too vehemently upon the probable mental inferiority of the Calabrian monk, in view of the high opinion which Milton seems to have had of his talents. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The ’Adamo Caduto,’ of course, is only one of a series of similar works concerning which a large literature has now grown up, and it might not be difficult to prove that Salandra was indebted to some previous writer for those words and phrases which he passed on to the English poet.

But where did Milton become acquainted with this tragedy? It was at Naples, according to Cowper (’Milton,’ vol. iii, p. 206), that the English poet may first have entertained the idea of ’the loss of paradise as a subject peculiarly fit for poetry.’ He may well have discussed sacred tragedies, like those of Andreini, with the Marquis Manso. But Milton had returned to England long before Salandra’s poem was printed; nor can Manso have sent him a copy of it, for he died in 1645–two years before its publication–and Zicari is thus mistaken in assuming (p. 245) that Milton became acquainted with it in the house of the Neapolitan nobleman. Unless, therefore, we take for granted that Manso was intimate with the author Salandra–he knew most of his literary countrymen–and sent or gave to Milton a copy of the manuscript of ’Adamo’ before it was printed, or that Milton was personally familiar with Salandra, we may conclude that the poem was forwarded to him from Italy by some other friend, perhaps by some member of the Accademia, degli Oziosi which Manso had founded.

A chance therefore seems to have decided Milton; Salandra’s tragedy fell into his hands, and was welded into the epic form which he had designed for Arthur the Great, even as, in later years, a chance question on the part of Elwood led to his writing ’Paradise Regained.’ [Footnote: Thou hast said much of Paradise Lost, but what hast thou to say of Paradise Found? He made no answer, but sat some time in a muse. . . .]

For this poem there were not so many models handy as for the other, but Milton has written too little to enable us to decide how far its inferiority to the earlier epic is due to this fact, and how far to the inherent inertia of its subject-matter. Little movement can be contrived in a mere dialogue such as ’Paradise Regained ’; it lacks the grandiose mise-en-scene and the shifting splendours of the greater epic; the stupendous figure of the rebellious archangel, the true hero of ’Paradise Lost,’ is here dwarfed into a puny, malignant sophist; nor is the final issue in the later poem even for a moment in doubt–a serious defect from an artistic point of view. Jortin holds its peculiar excellence to be ’artful sophistry, false reasoning, set off in the most specious manner, and refuted by the Son of God with strong unaffected eloquence’; merits for which Milton needed no original of any kind, as his own lofty religious sentiments, his argumentative talents and long experience of political pamphleteering, stood him in good stead. Most of us must have wondered how it came about that Milton could not endure to hear ’Paradise Lost’ preferred to ’Paradise Regained,’ in view of the very apparent inferiority of the latter. If we had known what Milton knew, namely, to how large an extent ’Paradise Lost’ was not the child of his own imagination, and therefore not so precious in his eyes as ’Paradise Regained,’ we might have understood his prejudice.

Certain parts of ’Paradise Lost’ are drawn, as we all know, from other Italian sources, from Sannazario, Ariosto, Guarini, Bojardo, and others. Zicari who, it must be said, has made the best of his case, will have it that the musterings and battles of the good and evil angels are copied from the ’Angeleide’ of Valvasone published at Milan in 1590. But G. Polidori, who has reprinted the ’Angeleide’ in his Italian version of Milton (London, 1840), has gone into this matter and thinks otherwise. These devil-and-angel combats were a popular theme at the time, and there is no reason why the English poet should copy continental writers in such descriptions, which necessarily have a common resemblance. The Marquis Manso was very friendly with the poets Tasso and Marino, and it is also to be remarked that entire passages in ’Paradise Lost’ are copied, totidem verbis, from the writings of these two, Manso having no doubt drawn Milton’s attention to their beauties. In fact, I am inclined to think that Manso’s notorious enthusiasm for the warlike epic of Tasso may first of all have diverted Milton from purely pastoral ideals and inflamed him with the desire of accomplishing a similar feat, whence the well-known lines in Milton’s Latin verses to this friend, which contain the first indication of such a design on his part. Even the familiar invocation, ’Hail, wedded Love,’ is bodily drawn from one of Tasso’s letters (see Newton’s ’Milton,’ 1773, vol. i, pp. 312, 313).

It has been customary to speak of these literary appropriations as ’imitations ’; but whoever compares them with the originals will find that many of them are more correctly termed translations. The case, from a literary-moral point of view, is different as regards ancient writers, and it is surely idle to accuse Milton, as has been done, of pilferings from Aeschylus or Ovid. There is no such thing as robbing the classics. They are our literary fathers, and what they have left behind them is our common heritage; we may adapt, borrow, or steal from them as much as will suit our purpose; to acknowledge such ’thefts’ is sheer pedantry and ostentation. But Salandra and the rest of them were Milton’s contemporaries. It is certainly an astonishing fact that no scholar of the stamp of Thyer was acquainted with the ’Adamo Caduto’; and it says much for the isolation of England that, at a period when poems on the subject of paradise lost were being scattered broadcast in Italy and elsewhere–when, in short, all Europe was ringing with the doleful history of Adam and Eve–Milton could have ventured to speak of his work as ’Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyma’–an amazing verse which, by the way, is literally transcribed out of Ariosto (’Cosa, non detta in prosa mai, ne in rima’). But even now the acquaintance of the British public with the productions of continental writers is superficial and spasmodic, and such was the ignorance of English scholars of this earlier period, that Birch maintained that Milton’s drafts, to be referred to presently, indicated his intention of writing an opera (!); while as late as 1776 the poet Mickle, notwithstanding Voltaire’s authority, questioned the very existence of Andreini, who has written thirty different pieces.

Some idea of the time when Salandra’s tragedy reached Milton might be gained if we knew the date of his manuscript projects for ’Paradise Lost’ and other writings which are preserved at Cambridge. R. Garnett (’Life of Milton,’ 1890, p. 129) supposes these drafts to date from about 1640 to 1642, and I am not sufficiently learned in Miltonian lore to controvert or corroborate in a general way this assertion. But the date must presumably be pushed further forward in the case of the skeletons for ’Paradise Lost,’ which are modelled to a great extent upon Salandra’s ’Adamo’ of 1647, though other compositions may also have been present before Milton’s mind, such as that mentioned on page 234 of the second volume of Todd’s ’Milton,’ from which he seems to have drawn the hint of a ’prologue spoken by Moses.’

Without going into the matter exhaustively, I will only say that from these pieces it is clear that Milton’s primary idea was to write, like Salandra, a sacred tragedy upon this theme, and not an epic. These drafts also contain a chorus, such as Salandra has placed in his drama, and a great number of mutes, who do not figure in the English epic, but who reappear in the ’Adamo Caduto’ and all similar works. Even Satan is here designated as Lucifer, in accordance with the Italian Lucifero; and at the end of one of Milton’s drafts we read ’at last appears Mercy, comforts him, promises the Messiah, etc.,’ which is exactly what Salandra’s Misericordia (Mercy) does in the same place.

Milton no doubt kept on hand many loose passages of poetry, both original and borrowed, ready to be worked up into larger pieces; all poets are smothered in odd scraps of verse and lore which they ’fit in’ as occasion requires; and it is therefore quite possible that some fragments now included in ’Paradise Lost’ may have been complete before the ’Adamo Caduto’ was printed. I am referring, more especially, to Satan’s address to the sun, which Philips says was written before the commencement of the epic.

Admitting Philips to be correct, I still question whether this invocation was composed before Milton’s visit to Naples; and if it was, the poet may well have intended it for some other of the multitudinous works which these drafts show him to have been revolving in his mind, or for none of them in particular.

De Quincey rightly says that Addison gave the initial bias in favour of ’Paradise Lost’ to the English national mind, which has thenceforward shrunk, as Addison himself did, from a dispassionate contemplation of its defects; the idea being, I presume, that a ’divine poem’ in a manner disarmed rational criticism. And, strange to say, even the few faults which earlier scholars did venture to point out in Milton’s poem will be found in that of Salandra. There is the same superabundance of allegory; the same confusion of spirit and matter among the supernatural persons; the same lengthy astronomical treatise; the same personification of Sin and Death; the same medley of Christian and pagan mythology; the same tedious historico-theological disquisition at the end of both poems.

For the rest, it is to be hoped that we have outgrown our fastidiousness on some of these points. Theological fervour has abated, and in a work of the pure imagination, as ’Paradise Lost’ is now–is it not?–considered to be, there is nothing incongruous or offensive in an amiable commingling of Semitic and Hellenic deities after the approved Italian recipe; nor do a few long words about geography or science disquiet us any more. Milton was not writing for an uncivilized mob, and his occasional displays of erudition will represent to a cultured person only those breathing spaces so refreshing in all epic poetry. That Milton’s language is saturated with Latinisms and Italianisms is perfectly true. His English may not have been good enough for his contemporaries. But it is quite good enough for us. That ’grand manner’ which Matthew Arnold claimed for Milton, that sustained pitch of kingly elaboration and fullness, is not wholly an affair of high moral tone; it results in part from the humbler ministrations of words happily chosen–from a felicitous alloy of Mediterranean grace and Saxon mettle. For, whether consciously or not, we cannot but be influenced by the colour-effects of mere words, that arouse in us definite but indefinable moods of mind. To complain of the foreign phraseology and turns of thought in ’Paradise Lost’ would be the blackest ingratitude nowadays, seeing that our language has become enriched by steady gleams of pomp and splendour due, in large part, to the peculiar lustre of Milton’s comely importations.



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