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Ariofto was fomewhat more cautious in this particular. For though he fuppofes the use of fire arms, on a certain occafion, in the age of Charlemagne, yet he prudently fuggefts, that they were foon 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. 11. 22.
It has been before obferved, that Milton copied the invention of fire arms from Ariofto. We may further obferve, that Milton copies from himself in the speech of one of the fallen angels, on their new-invented weapons.
They fhall fear we have difarm'd
The thunderer of his only dreaded bolt*.
This is from his latin epigram, In Inventorem Bombarda.
At mihi major erit, qui lurida creditur arma,
There are likewife other ftrokes, both of expreffion and fentiment, which Milton has transferred, from the fmaller poems, into his GREAT WORK. In Samfon Agoniftes.
*Paradife Loft, ver. 490.
THRICE SHE ASSAYD with flattering pray'rs and fighs
This form he has exactly repeated in Paradife Loft.
THRICE HE ASSAY'D, and THRICE, in fpite of fcorn,
A perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets Where no CRUDE SURFEIT REIGNS.
In Paradife Loft.
Quaff immortality and joy, SECURE
A thoufand LIVERIED ANGELS LACKEY her.
The following, in Paradife Luft, is a kindred image,
About her as a GUARD ANGELICK plac'd §.
Among Milton's IMITATIONS OF HIMSELF, I think the following have been unobserved. In Il Penferofo,
* Ver. 392,
+ I. 619.
§ 8.559. Sometimes
Sometimes let gorgeous TRAGEDY
It appears, that the greek tragedies, founded upon these stories, made an early and lafting impreffion on Milton. In his firft elegy to Deodatus, written before he was arrived at his twentieth year, he particularifes those dramas; where, as in the lines juft cited, he is speaking of tragedy in general.
Seu mæret PELOPEA DOMUS, feu nobilis ILI,
In L' Allegro,
WED your divine founds.
Plucking ripe clusters from the TENDER SHOOTS. Of a vine, in the Translation of Psalm, 1xxx.
Make their food.
Her grapes and TENDER SHOOTS.
In Paradife Regained,
Tall ftripling youths, rich clad, of fairer hue
He fingles out these, as two beautiful boys, in one of his latin elegies.
Talis in æterno, JUVENIS SIGEIUS, Olympo,
Aut qui formofas pellexit ad ofcula nymphas,
In the first of which verses he had an eye to this of Tibullus,
TALIS IN ÆTERNO felix Vertumnus OLYMPO Į.
Milton takes all opportunities of illuftrating the power of mufic, and of expreffing his extreme fondness for it: These verses, in COMUs, relating to that fubject,
And chid her BARKING waves into ATTENTION,
† B. 1. El. 7.
B. 4. 2.
ftrongly refemble what Silius Italicus defcribes of a Sicilian fhepherd playing on his reed,
Scyllai tacuere canes, ftetit atra Charybdis *.
But shall we fufpect Milton of plagiarism because the Roman poet wrote FIRST? Was it not NATURAL for either poet, in expreffing the force of music in the ISLE OF SICILY, to mention it's influence on two moft IMPLACABLE objects, which the SITUATION of the musician, in both cafes, fuggefted?
The fable of the garden of the Hefperides feems to have affected the imagination of Milton in a very particular manner, as his allufions to it are remarkably frequent, viz.
And LADIES of th' HESPERIDES +.
But beauty, like the fair HESPERIAN TREE,
All amidst the GARDENS FAIR
Of HESPERUS, and his daughters three,
Like thofe HESPERIAN GARDENS fam'd of old (*).
* Bel. Pun. 14. 476. § Ibid.
† Par. Reg. 2. 357.