clearer for this common light; 46 Blake himself, in many points, is less of a puzzle; and this current broadens into the nineteenth century from Shelley to Whitman. But here it is no longer merely Milton and merely the Zohar that are in question; other influences are at work, and on others besides Milton. It becomes necessary to trace a whole stream of semi-occult ideas, flowing through the whole of modern literature, and taking in much of Goethe, Wagner and Nietzsche, much of Lamartine and Hugo.

From another point of view, if we remember what affection Milton felt for Sir Henry Vane the younger, what strange ideas Sir Henry indulged in, incomprehensible indeed to all in his time, what intimate relationship existed at one time between Vane and Cromwell, perhaps a new light may be thrown upon some still half obscure points of the history of revolutionary England, from which so much in the political modern world is derived.

University of Bordeaux.

" See on this Saurat, Blake and Milton, Paris, Librairie Felix Alcan.



Galileo the astronomer is the only one of Milton's contemporaries who obtained a place in Paradise Lost. This discoverer of new truths about the material universe seemed to the poet the one among the men he knew whose name posterity would most unwillingly let die. Yet he had seen Galileo not as the triumphant herald of new discoveries, but as one of the martyrs of science.

"I found and visited," he writes in the Areopagitica, “the famous Galileo grown old, a prisoner to the Inquisition, for thinking in astronomy otherwise than the Franciscan and Dominican licensers thought.” This visit represents the poet's love for freedom of thought, which was itself enough to direct his attention to a man suffering under tyranny, especially ecclesiastical tyranny, for truth's sake. Yet his sympathy with Galileo was also the expression of his desire for scientific teaching truer than the decadent Aristotelianism which found a champion in the church that had silenced the great astronomer.

The chief evidence of Milton's early rebellion against the school of thought that condemned Galileo is found in his university orations, one of which is entitled Contra Philosophiam Scholasticam. He writes in the spirit of Bacon:

Cui et hoc egregium afferet compendium, si quis norit et artes utiles, et utilia in artibus recte seligere. Quot sunt imprimis Grammaticorum et Rhetorum nugae aspernabiles! Audias in tradenda arte sua illos barbare loquentes, hos infantissimos. Quid Logica ? Regina quidem illa artium si pro dignitate tractetur. At heu quanta est in ratione insania! Non hic homines, sed plane Acanthides carduis et spinis vescuntur. O dura Messorum ilia! Quid repetam illam, quam Metaphysicam vocant Peripatetici, non artem inquam plerumque, sed infames scopulos, sed Lernam quandam Sophismatum ad naufragium et pestem excogitatem ? Haec illa quae supra memini togatae ignorantiae vulnera sunt. Haec eadem cucullorum scabies etiam ad naturalem philosophiam late permanavit; vexet mathematicos demonstrationum inanis gloriola; his omnibus quae nihil profutura sunt merito contemptis et amputatis, admirationi erit quot annos integros lucrabimur.1

1 Prolusio 8, p. 466 (The Works of Milton, Pickering edition, Boston, 1851, vol. 7).

By the example of Aristotle,2 Milton endeavors to encourage his hearers to studies more profitable than quarrels about words. He strongly recommends the natural sciences, among them astronomy:

Nec vos clam sit quid sibi velit aut Jupiter aut Natura, cum dirus atque ingens Cometa coelo saepe minitatur incendium, nec vos vel minutissimae lateant stellulae, quotquot inter polos utrosque sparsae sunt, et dispalatae: immo solem peregrinantem sequamini comites, et ipsum tempus ad calculos vocate, aeternique ejus itineris exigite rationem." In another list of delightful studies, astronomy (“omnem coeli syderumque morem”)* comes first. In this respect for Aristotle, the youthful Milton agrees with Galileo, who had a good word for the philosopher himself, though he did not approve of the methods of the Peripatetics. He thus condemns the disciples by the example of the master:

Dico, che noi aviamo nel nostro secolo accidenti e osservazioni nuove e tali, ch'io non dubito punto, che se Arisottile fusse all'età nostra, muterebbe opinione; il che manifestamente si raccoglie dal suo stesso modo di filosofare; imperocchè, mentre egli scrive di stimare i Cieli inalterabili ec. perchè nissuna cosa nuova si è veduta generarvisi o dissolversi delle vecchie, viene implicitamente a lasciarsi intendere, che quando egli avesse veduto uno di tali accidenti, avrebbe stimato il contrario."

But though Milton respected Aristotle, he was far from being a Peripatetic. In a university oration entitled De Sphaerarum Concentu he takes the side of Pythagoras against Aristotle. difference on the music of the spheres does not now seem of scientific moment, yet in Milton's day Pythagoras was opposed to Aristotle as the upholder of the belief that the earth moves. Copernicus himself set out from the speculations of Pythagoras, and Galileo speaks of the "opinione Pittagorica della mobilità della Terra." 8 Consequently, if Milton was ready to prefer Pythagoras to Aristotle in one matter, we may suspect equal readiness in others.

Milton was interested in mathematics--a subject which devoted Aristotelians believed unnecessary, since they could depend on the words of their master.” Galileo, however, used mathematics freely, and looked forward to further developments in the subject. When Milton resided at Horton he was in the habit of repairing to London for learning ... the mathematics.” 7* This sets him among the Pythagoreans rather than among the Aristotelians.

* Prolusio 3, p. 430. 3 Ibid., p. 429.

* Prolusio 8, p. 462. * Dialogo intorno ai due massimi sistemi del mondo tolemaico e coper- . nicano, p. 58 (Le Opere di Galileo Galilei, Firenze 1842, vol. 1). Cf. p. 146.

Dialogo, p. 11.

Though natural science appeared to the young Milton so important that he urged its study on his fellow students, and though he was early inspired with the spirit of resistance to the scholastics, we do not know that in his youth he became familiar with the Copernican astronomy. From his early writings we would infer that he did not. Scarcely one of the poems written before his journey to Italy is without references to astronomy, yet these references are invariably Ptolemaic. In the poem entitled De Idea Platonica Quemadmodum Aristotles Intellexit he mentions the “ordines decemplicis” of the sky, and in Comus he wrote:

We that are of purer fire
Imitate the starry quire,
Who in their nightly watchful spheres,
Lead in swift round the months and years.8

The large number of astronomical passages in the earlier poems cannot be explained by literary convention; in youth the poet must have laid the foundation for the astronomical knowledge evident in his later writings.

But notwithstanding the evidence of his early poetry, Milton probably learned of the Copernican doctrines either during his college career or in the course of his private studies at Horton. In their general circulation, the new astronomical theories could not have failed to reach a man of his intellectual curiosity. And the writings of Galileo were, we are told, “ largely read in England." There are in the British Museum Ms. translations of some of his works, including his Dialogue on the Two Principal Systems of the World. This or some other translation was mentioned to Galileo by an English traveler, perhaps Hobbes, in 1633. Galileo and two of his friends are the speakers in Astrologorum Concessus, one of a series of essays by George Fortesque, entitled Feriae Academicae, which appeared in London in 1630. Hence it is possible that Milton visited Galileo partly as a result of interest in the astronomer's writings.

» 9

' Ibid., p. 16.

7. The Earliest Life of Milton, p. xxiv (in Of Education, etc. edited by Laura E. Lockwood, Boston, 1911). Milton himself writes: Rus urbe mutarem gratia .. aut novum quidpiam in mathematicis vel in musicis, quibus tum oblectabar, addiscendi (Defensio Secunda).

& Lines 111-14.

'J. J. Fahie, Galileo, His Life and Work, London, 1903, p. 424. Salusbury's translation of the Dialogue was printed in 1661.

Yet even in mentioning his visit, in the Areopagitica, he does not assert his belief that Galileo was right. However, his purpose was not to uphold the correctness of any particular opinions, but to declare that all should be tolerated. He had no occasion for announcement-against the convictions of a large number of his English readers—that he held the views of Galileo. And if he did hold them, he did not make them a matter of conscience, or insist on propagating them. On the contrary, he seems to have acted as though Galileo's theories were not established, for after his return from Italy he apparently taught the old astronomy in his school. His pupils read the Astronomica of Manilius, an Augustan poet, and used as a text-book a popular manual by Joannes de Sacrobosco, entitled De Sphaera Mundi. Unless Milton supplemented this by explanations of his own, his pupils gained no knowledge of the Copernican system.10

Moreover, his casual references in his prose writings are not Copernican. In Tetrachordon (1645) we read:

Nature hath her Zodiac also, keeps her great annual circuit over human affairs as truly as the sun and the planets in the firmament, hath her anomalies, hath her obliquities in ascensions and declinations, accesses and recesses, as blamelessly as they in heaven." Elsewhere 12 he speaks of “comets and impressions in the air.” Galileo held that comets were not heavenly bodies but atmospheric phenomena,18 vapors which rose from the earth to a great height, even above the moon," without meeting any obstacle in the impenetrability of the Peripatetic sky” which he believed "more yielding

10 Even the supplementary matter in the editions of De Sphaera Mundi that I have examined contains no Copernican teachings.

11 P. 248, edition cited, vol. 4.
13 Of Reformation in England, book 2, p. 45, edition cited, vol. 3.
13 Fahie, Galileo, p. 181.

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