XXI. MILTON IN CALABRIA
Milton's Terror is partially taken from the Megera of the Italian poet. The 'grisly Terror' threatens Satan (ii, 699), and the office of Megera, in Salandra's drama, is exactly the same - that is, to threaten and chastise the rebellious spirit, which she does very effectually (pages 123-131). The identical monsters - Cerberus, Hydras, and Chimseras - are found in their respective abodes, but Salandra does not content himself with these three; his list includes such a mixed assemblage of creatures as owls, basilisks, dragons, tigers, bears, crocodiles, sphynxes, harpies, and panthers. Terror moves with dread rapidity:
. . . and from his seat The monster moving onward came as fast With horrid strides. - MILTON (ii, 675).
and so does Megera:
In atterir, in spaventar son . . . Rapido si ch' ogni ripar e vano. - SALANDRA (p. 59).
Both Milton and Salandra use the names of the gods of antiquity for their demons, but the narrative epic of the English poet naturally permitted of far greater prolixity and variety in this respect. A most curious parallelism exists between Milton's Belial and that of Salandra. Both are described as luxurious, timorous, slothful, and scoffing, and there is not the slightest doubt that Milton has taken over these mixed attributes from the Italian. [Footnote: This is one of the occasions in which Zicari appears, at first sight, to have stretched a point in order to improve his case, because, in the reference he gives, it is Behemoth, and not Belial, who speaks of himielf as cowardly (imbelle). But in another place Lucifer applies this designation to Belial as well,]
The words of Milton's Beelzebub (ii, 368):
Seduce them to our party, that their god
May prove their foe . . .
are copied from those of the Italian Lucifero (p. 52):
. . . Facciam Accio, che l' huom divenga
A Dio nemico . . .
Regarding the creation of the world, Salandra asks (p. 11):
Qual lingua puo di Dio,
Benche da Dio formato
Lodar di Dio le meraviglie estreme?
which is thus echoed by Milton (vii, 112):
. . . to recount almighty works
What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice?
There is a considerable resemblance between the two poets in their descriptions of Paradise and of its joys. In both poems, too, Adam warns his spouse of her frailty, and in the episode of Eve's meeting with the serpent there are no less than four verbal coincidences. Thus Salandra writes (p. 68):
Ravviso gli animal, ch' a schiera a schiera
Gia fanno humil e reverente inclino . . .
Ravveggio il bel serpente avvolto in giri;
O sei bello
Con tanta varieta che certo sembri
Altro stellato ciel, smaltata terra.
O che sento, tu parli?
and Milton transcribes it as follows (ix, 517-554):
. . . She minded not, as used
To such disport before her through the field
From every beast, more duteous at her call . . .
Curled many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve.
His turret crest and sleek enamelled neck . . .
What may this mean?
Language of man pronounced
By tongue of brute?
Altogether, Zicari has observed that Rolli, although unacquainted with the 'Adamo Caduto,' has sometimes inadvertently hit upon the same words in his Italian translation of Milton which Salandra had used before him.
Eve's altered complexion after the eating of the forbidden fruit is noted by both poets:
Torbata ne la faccia? Non sei quella
Qual ti lasciai contenta . . . - SALANDRA (p. 89).
Thus Eve with countenance blithe her story told;
But in her cheek distemper flushing glowed. - MILTON (ix, 886).
only with this difference, that the Italian Eve adds a half-lie by way of explaining the change: