the third fourteen. In the second part of the Faerie Queene the tendency is more marked. In the fourth Book some forty-one (including the Irish river references), occur, in the fifth, twentysix, and in the sixth, thirty-four may be found. If the fact is borne in mind that the books also tend to grow shorter, the increase in realism will be yet more noticeable; it does in fact almost double itself in the second part of the Faerie Queene. 64

Many different reasons may be assigned for this increase in realism, perhaps the chief reason is Spenser's growing familiarity with nature and rustic life in Ireland. That the ugly and revolting passages are less frequent in the later books of the Faerie Queene, may arise from the same cause.

New Haven, Conn.

64 In the first three Books 55 references, and in the last three 101 refer. ences are found.



Among the notoriously “dangerous” books of the Renaissance, perhaps the most notorious, most sought after, and most difficult to procure in the seventeenth century, was Jean Bodin's Latin dialogue, Colloquium Heptaplomeres. It is a free-spoken discussion of religion by seven men representing as many sects or points of view: Catholicism, Zwinglian Protestantism, Lutheranism, Mahommedanism, Judaism, natural religion, and a rather free and destructive rationalism. There are no conversions and no conclusions established at the end of the discussion, but the tendency of the whole is of course sceptical. The book was apparently written in 1593.2 It is the most extensive account extant of those “atheistic" ideas which circulated widely by secret and underground channels in Renaissance society, and which, when discovered, put their adherents in danger of a burning death for heresy.

Though the existence and dangerous nature of Bodin's dialogue was generally known in the seventeenth century, its actual circulation in manuscript was very limited until nearly the end of the century. Its possession was kept a profound secret except among the most trusted friends. Queen Christine of Sweden was most eager to have a copy. Her representatives in France sought for it in vain for several years. When she finally procured the loan of a copy in 1654, through the assistance of Isaac Vossius, she seemed disinclined to part with it, and only with great difficulty was the precious manuscript at last rescued and returned to its owner in 1661. The pursuit of the Heptaplomeres at that time was some thing of a high adventure in book-collecting.

Yet at about this time Milton had a copy of it and sent it to some friend in Germany, who first ingenuously admitted his secret

1 It was first printed, in part, by Guhrauer, Das Heptaplomeres des Jean Bodin, Berlin, 1841, and in full by Noack, Colloquium Heptaplomeres, Schwerin, 1857. Chauviré has printed selections from an early French version under the title Colloque de Jean Bodin, Paris, 1914.

· Chauviré, p. 4.
* Chauviré, pp. 5-6.


and then repented of his indiscretion. The meagre evidence in the case is found in some passages in the correspondence of Christian von Boineburg, a diplomat in the service of the elector of Mainz, and his friend Hermann Conring, a distinguished professor in the University of Helmstadt. As this correspondence is difficult of access, at least in this country, I am republishing those passages of interest to students of Milton.

At the request of Conring, who desired a copy for the private library of his patron, the Duke of Wolfenbüttel, Boineburg had already been searching for Bodin's work before he heard of Milton's copy.


Moguntiae d. 6. Aug. 1662. Bodiniana Arcana nancisci nequeo, vt pro Serenissimo Augusto exscri. bantur. Doleo hoc nomine plurimum. Optarim, legisses saltem. Baeclerus nuper

Swalbaci? ea inspiciendi magna quoque spe excidit, nescio qua possessoris superstitione, vel inuidia. Misit huic ex Anglia Miltonius, nasuti Salmasii coecus ille hodieque Londini indulgentia optimi Regis superstes antagonista. Proxime plura. (pp. 882-3.)


Helmstad. d. 21. Aug. 1662. Arcana Bodiniana non equidem desidero, nisi in complementum bibliothecae Augustae. (p. 899.)

Helmstad. d. 5/15 Sept. 1662. Bodinianorum arcanorum impetrandorum spe nos excidere, doleo. Si scirem, quis eorum sit possessor, forte apud illum auctoritas Augusti Principis mei aliquid efficeret. (p. 905.)


Moguntiae d. 16. October. 1662. De Bodinianis Arcanis adhuc vigilo. Sed possessorem eorum non possum eo persuadere, vt ea communicet ad describendum. Eius quoque nomen

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• Gruber, Io. Daniel, Commercium Epistolicum Leibnitianum, Hanover, 1745. The allusion to Milton was first noted by Guhrauer, p. lxxvii, and after him by Chauviré, p. 7.

6 The copy in the library of the Catholic University of America, which was kindly loaned me, is, I believe, the only one in America.

* J. H. Boecler, professor of History at Strassburg, was councillor to the electorate of Mainz and to the Empire. See Jöcher, Christian Gottlieb, Allgemeines Gelehrten-Lexicon, Leipzig, 1750, I, p. 1166.

Evidently the watering-place not far from Mainz. Boineburg had written to Conring from Schwalbach on the preceding 24th of July.

* My passages are in every case excerpts from longer letters, but they can invariably be separated from the context without violence.

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edere non sinor religione promissi, quo illi obstrinxi me. Horribilis ille liber venit ex Anglia, missu Miltonii illius, qui adhuc dum Londini coecus viuit, et magnopere dolet, sibi non amplius licere satyram scribere. Idem Miltonius alia non vniusmodi scripta sua eidem transmisit Anglicana, inter quae facile principem commeretur locum ille capitalis liber pro diuortiis, cuius vsus vsque adeo hodie regnat locis non vnis. (pp. 947-8.)


Helmstad. d. 24. October. 1662. Arcana Bodiniana ego non tam desidero (nec enim de iis exspecto quidquam magnopere dignum refutatu post tot eximios pro veritate Religionis Christianae libellos) doctrinae inde hauriendae, aut impietatis cognoscendae rectius caussa, quam in complementum Augustae Domini mei bibliothecae. Spero, te, crebra vrsione et ostensione nullius subsecuturi periculi, possessorem ad describendum permoturum. Si optimo Principi meo velit librum committere, dabitur opera, vt a iurato librario describatur, et, ceu meretur, in arcanis tenebris detineatur. Spondeo hoc bona fide. Librum Miltonii de diuortiis nondum videre contigit. Petulantia tamen scripta illa contra Salmasium produnt ingenium non obtusum quidem; solidae tamen doctrinae inane. (p. 950.)


Moguntiae, d. 3. Nov. 1662. Bodini Arcana impia iam iterum petii a possessore, qui fortuito nunc hac transit. Excusat valde et operose, quod renuit. Caussatur nescio quid non? imo varia ac multimoda. Certe vel ipse mihi impia illa deliria comparare ab ipso nequiui. Libentissime alias librum mitterem; imo hic Serenissimo describi exacte curarem. Tentabo tamen hominem vltra. Miltonius de diuortiis Anglice scripsit. Idem ille, qui Bodini librum possidet, habet et illum. Ni fallor, ab illo Miltonio Bodinum et accepit, sub cautione forsan. (pp. 963-4.)

The repeated requests were however without avail, and Milton's friend and his manuscript disappear from the correspondence. But both Boineburg and Conring continued their search for a copy of Bodin's work, and ten years later, in 1672, they finally succeeded in their efforts, and the Heptaplomeres was added to the Duke's private library.

When and where Milton procured this manuscript will probably always remain unknown. But the mere fact of his possessing it has its significance as additional evidence of Milton's interest in radical or “libertine” thought and his intimate connection with people of advanced views.

It might be of some importance to identify Milton's friend in Germany, if it were possible. I venture the suggestion that he was not a German at all, but the Scotchman, James Durie, who spent

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most of his life on the Continent in the vain endeavor of unifying the Protestant sects. During his residence in England, from 1640 to 1654, he had met Milton and become one of his more intimate circle.10 From 1654 to 1657 he travelled, in the interests of church unity, in the Netherlands and the district along the Rhine. In 1661-2 he settled at Cassel, under the protection and patronage of the Landgrave of Hesse, and continued his travels, especially in South Germany, Switzerland and Alsace, until 1668. He died in 1680. Durie must have sought out such influential men as Boecler and Boineburg and discussed religious questions with them at length, especially as Boineburg himself was interested in the problem of church unity. And with his great cause so deeply at heart, he might well have demanded solemn promises that his possession of the Heptaplomeres should not be divulged. One may surmise, too, that Durie would be quite likely to spend a summer at the watering-place of Schwalbach, gaining the intimacy of men of consequence, and thence pass on his travels through Mainz (fortuito nunc hac transit). Finally, the curious mixture of ingenuousness and caution in the conduct of the possessor of Milton's manuscript, seems to fit the character of Durie. Mossheim 11 says of him that he was a man justly celebrated on account of his universal benevolence, solid piety, and extensive learning; but, at the same time, more remarkable for genius and memory, than for nicety of discernment and accuracy of judgment, as might be evinced by several proofs and testimonies, were this the proper place for discussions of that nature.”

University of Michigan.

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• See life in Dict. Nat. Biog. and in Jöcher, op. cit., II, pp. 253-4. 10 Masson, Life of Milton, v, pp. 229-236.

11 Ecclesiastical History, trans. MacLaine, London, 1819, v, 275. Jöcher, op. cit., corroborates this opinion: “Er war ein frommer und redlicher Mann, aber in seinen Meinungen sehr unbeständig, besasz auch die Gelehrsamkeit und Klugheit keinesweges, welche zu einem Unternehmen von solcher Wichtigkeit nöthig waren.”


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