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Sienna to Rome, where he stayed much about the fame time that he had continued at Florence, feasting both his eyes and his mind, and delighted with the fine paintings, and fculptures, and other rarities and antiquities of the city, as well as with the converfation of feveral learned and ingenious men, and particularly of Lucas Holftenius, keeper of the Va tican library, who received him with the greatest humanity, and fhowed him all the Greek authors, whether in print or in manufcript, which had paffed thro' his correction; and also presented him to Cardinal Barberini, who at an entertainment of mufic, performed at his own expenfe, waited for him at the door, and taking him by the hand brought him into the affembly. The next morning he waited upon the Cardinal to return him thanks for his civilities, and by the means of Holftenius was again introduced to his Eminence, and spent fome time in conversation with him. It feems that Holftenius had ftudied three years at Oxford, and this might difpofe 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 favors, wrote to him afterwards from Florence the ninth of his familiar epiftles. At Rome too Selvaggi made a Latin diftich in honor of Milton, and Salfilli a Latin tetrastich, celebrating him for his Greek and Latin and Italian poetry; and he in return presented to Salfilli in his fickness thofe fine Scazons, or Iambic verfes having a fpondee in the last foot, which are inferted 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 Baptifta Manfo, Marquis of Villa, a Neapolitan nobleman, of fingular merit and virtue, to whom Taffo addreffes his dialogue of friendship, and whom he mentions like wife in his Gierufalemme Liberata with great honor. This nobleman was particularly civil to Milton, frequently vifited him at his lodgings, and went with him to fhow him the Viceroy's palace, and whatever was curious or worth notice in the city: and moreover he honored him fo far as to make a Latin diftich in his praife, which is printed before our au thor's Latin poems, as is likewife the other of Selvaggi, and the Latin tetraftich of Salfilli together with the Italian ode and the Latin eulogium before mentioned. We may fuppofe that Milton was not a little pleased with the honors conferred upon him by fo many perfons of diftinction, and especially by one of fuch 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 intitled Manfus, 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 Milton, the one the greatest modern poet of his own, and the other the greateft of foreign nations.
Having feen the finest parts of Italy, Milton was now thinking of paffing over into Sicily and Greece, when he was diverted from his purpose by the news from England, that things were tending to a civil war between the King and Parlament; for he thought it unworthy of himself to be taking his pleasure abroad, while his countrymen were contend
ing for liberty at home. He refolved therefore to return by the way of Rome, tho' he was advised to the contrary by the merchants, who had received intelligence from their correfpondents, that the English Jefuits there were forming plots against him, in cafe he fhould return thither, by reafon of the great freedom which he had ufed in all his difcourfes of religion. For he had by no means obferved the rule, recommended to him by Sir Henry Wotton, of keeping his thoughts clofe and his countenance open: He had vifited Galileo, a prifoner to the Inquifition, for afferting the motion of the earth, and thinking otherwife in aftronomy than the Dominicans and Francifcans thought: And tho' the Marquis of Villa had shown him fuch diftinguishing marks of favor 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 diffimulation and difguife; he was neither afraid, nor afhamed to vindicate the truth; and if any man had, he had in him the fpirit of an old martyr. He was fo prudent indeed, that he would not of his own accord begin any discourse of religion; but at the fame time he was fo honeft, that if he was queftioned at all about his faith, he would not diffemble his fentiments, whatever was the confequence. And with this refolution he went to Rome the fecond time, and stayed there two months more, neither concealing his name, nor declining openly to defend the truth, if any thought proper to attack him: and yet, God's good providence protecting him, he came fafe to his kind friends at Florence, where he was received with as much C 4
joy and affection, as if he had returned into his own country,
Here likewise he stayed two months, as he had done before, excepting only an excurfion of a few days to Lucca: and then croffing the Apennine, and paffing thro' Bologna and Ferrara, he came to Venice, in which city he spent a month; and having fhipped off the books, which he had collected in his travels, and particularly a cheft or two of choice mufic books of the best masters florishing about that time in Italy, he took his course thro' Verona, Milan, and along the lake Leman to Geneva. In this city he tarried fome time, meeting here with people of his own principles, and contracted an intimate friendship with Giovanni Deodati, the most learned profeffor of divinity, whofe annotations upon the Bible are published in English. And from thence returning thro' France, the fame way that he had gone before, he arrived fafe in England, after a peregrination of one year and about three months, having feen more, and learned more, and conversed with more famous men, and made more real improvements, than most others in double the time.
His first bufinefs after his return was to pay his duty to his father, and to vifit his other friends; but this pleasure was much diminished by the lofs of his dear friend and schoolfellow Charles Deodati in his absence. While he was abroad, he heard it reported that he was dead; and upon his coming home he found it but too true, and lamented his death in an excellent Latin eclogue intitled Epitaphium Damonis. This Deodati had a father originally of Lucca, but his mother was English, and he was born and bred
in England, and ftudied phyfic, and was an admirable scholar, and no lefs remarkable for his fobriety and other virtues than for his great learning and ingenuity. One or two of Milton's familiar epiftles are addreffed to him; and Mr. Toland fays, that he had in his hands two Greek letters of Deodati to Milton, very handsomely written. It may be right for scholars now and then to exercise themselves in Greek and Latin; but we have much more frequent occafion to write letters in our own native language, and in that therefore we should principally endevor to excel.
Milton, foon after his return, had taken a lodging at one Ruffel's, a taylor, in St. Bride's Churchyard; but he continued not long there, having not fufficient room for his library and furniture; and therefore determined to take a house, and accordingly took a handsome garden-house in Alderfgate-ftreet, fituated at the end of an entry, which was the more agreeable to a studious man for its privacy and freedom from noife and difturbance. And in this house he continued several years, and his fifter's two fons were put to board with him, firft the younger and afterwards the elder: and fome other of his intimate friends requested of him the fame favor for their fons, especially fince there was little more trouble in inftructing half a dozen than two or three: and he, who could not eafily deny any thing to his friends, and who knew that the greatest men in all ages had delighted in teaching others the principles of knowledge and virtue, undertook the office, not out of any fordid and mercenary views, but merely from a benevolent difpofition, and a defire to do good.