e them what they desire to gain by it. . . . And it may be said that (as true friendship between men consists in each wholly loving the other) the true philosopher loves every part of wisdom, and wisdom every part of the philosopher, inasmuch as she draws all to herself, and allows no one of his thoughts to wander to other things.
Cap. XI. The Convito gives us a glance into Dante's library.
We find Aristotle (whom he calls the philosopher, the master) cited seventysix times; Cicero, eighteen; Albertus Magnus, seven; Boethius, six; Plato (at second-hand), four; Aquinas, Avicenna, Ptolemy, the Digest, Lucan, and Ovid, three each; Virgil, Juvenal, Statius, Seneca, and Horace, twice each; and Algazzali, Alfrogan, Augustine, Livy, Orosius, and Homer (at second-hand), once.
Of Greek he seems to have understood little; of Hebrew and Arabic, a few words.
But it was not only in the closet and from books that Dante received his education.
He acquired, perhaps, the better par
eavenly instinct not to be gotten by labor and learning, but adorned with both, and poured into the wit by a certain Enthousiasmos and celestial inspiration, as the author hereof elsewhere at large discourseth in his book called the English poet, which book being lately come into my hands, I mind also by God's grace, upon further advisement, to publish.
E. K., whoever he was, never carried out his intention, and the book is no doubt lost; a loss to be borne with less equanimity than that of Cicero's treatise De Gloria, once possessed by Petrarch.
The passage I have italicized is most likely an extract, and reminds one of the long-breathed periods of Milton.
Drummond of Hawthornden tells us, he [Ben Jonson] hath by heart some verses of Spenser's Calendar, about wine, between Coline and Percye (Cuddie and Piers).
Drummond, it will be remarked, speaking from memory, takes Cuddy to be Colin.
In Milton's Lycidas there are reminiscences of this eclogue as well as of that for May. The
of self-respect, in the historian himself, that should not allow him to play any tricks with the dignity of his subject.
A halo of sacredness has hitherto invested the figure of Milton, and our image of him has dwelt securely in ideal remoteness from the vulgarities of life.
No diaries, no private letters, remain to give the idle curiosity of after-times the right to force itself on the hallowed seclusion of his reserve.
That a man whose familiar epistles were written in the language of Cicero, whose sense of personal dignity was so great that, when called on in self-defence to speak of himself, he always does it with an epical stateliness of phrase, and whose self-respect even in youth was so profound that it resembles the reverence paid by other men to a far-off and idealized character,— that he should be treated in this offhand familiar fashion by his biographer seems to us a kind of desecration, a violation of good manners no less than of the laws of biographic art. Milton is