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Ariosto was somewhat more cautious in this particular. For though he supposes the use of fire arms, on a certain occasion, in the age of Charlemagne, yet he prudently suggests, that they were soon afterwards abolished, and that the use of them continued unknown for many years.
He attributes the revival, no less than the invention, of these infernal engines, to the devil. č. If. 22.
It has been before observed, that Milton copied the invention of fire arms from Ariosto. We may further observe, that Milton copies from himself in the speech of one of the fallen angels, on their new-invented weapons.
They shall fear we have difarm'd
This is from his latin epigram, In Inventorem Bomberda.
At mihi major erit, qui lurida creditur arma,
Et trifidum fulmen sarripuiffe Jovi. There are likewise other strokes, both of expression and sentiment, which Milton has transferred, from the smaller poems, into his GREAT WORK. In Samson Agoniftes. * Paradise Lost, ver. 490.
THRICE SHE ASSAYD with flattering pray’rs and fighs
This form he has exactly repeated in Paradise Loft.
THRICE HE ASSAY'D, and THRICE, in spite of fcorn, Tears, such as angels weep, burk forth t.
A perpetual feast of nedar'd sweets Where no CRUDE SURFEIT REIGNS.
In Paradise Loft.
Quaff immortality and joy, SECURE
A thousand LIVERIED ANGELS LACKEY her.
The following, in Paradise Luft, is a kindred image,
About her as a GUARD ANGELICK plac'd .
Among Milton's IMITATIONS OF HIMSELT,
I think the following have been unpbserved. In Il Penseroso,
Sometimes let gorgeous TRAGEDY
It appears, that the greek tragedies, founded upon these stories, made an early and lasting impression on Milton. In his first elegy to Deodatus, written before he was arrived at his twentieth year, he particularises those dramas; where, as in the lines juft cited, he is speaking of tragedy in general.
Seu mæret PelopeA DOMUS, feu nobilis ILI,
Seu luit inceptos aula CREONTIS aves *.
Thus, at a folemn music,
Voice and verse
Plucking ripe clusters from the TENDER SHOOTS. Of a vine, in the Translation of Psalm, 1xxx.
Make their food.
In Paradise Regained,
Tall stripling youths, rich clad, of fairer hue
He singles out these, as two beautiful boys, in one of his latin elegies.
Talis in æterno, JUVENIS Sigeius, Olympo,
Miscet amatori pocula plena Jovi:
Thiodomanteus Naiade raptus HYLAs t.
In the first of which verses he had an eye to this of
Talis IN ÆTERNO felix Vertumnus OLYMPO L.
Milton takes all opportunities of illustrating the power of music, and of expressing his extreme fondness for it: These verses, in Comus, relating to that subject,
strongly resemble what Silius Italicus describes of a Sicilian shepherd playing on his reed,
Scyllæi tacuere canes, ftetit atra Charybdis *.
But shall we suspect Milton of plagiarism because the Roman poet wrote FIRST? Was it not NATURAL for either poet, in expressing the force of music in the ISLE OF SICILY, to mention it's influence on two most IMPLACABLE objects, which the GITUATION of the musician, in both cases, suggested ?
The fable of the garden of the Hesperides seems to have affected the imagination of Milton in a very particular manner, as his allusions to it are remarkably frequent, viz.
And Ladies of th'HESPERIDEST.
But beauty, like the fair HESPERIAN TRIB,
All amidit the GARDENS FAIR
Like those HesPERIAN GARDENS fam'd of old (*).