Sunday, January 23, 2011


A German Jesuit, named Jacob Masen or Masenius, who was a professor of rhetoric in Cologne, and died in 1681. Among his manuscripts found after his death were three volumes, the first of which was a treatise on general literature, the second a collection of lyrics, epics, elegies etc., and the third a number of dramas. In the second manuscript was an epic entitled "Sarcotis" The world would never have known anything about "Sarcotis" had not a Scotchman, named William Lauder, succeeded in finding it, somewhere, about 1753, i. e. seventy-two years after Masen's death. He ran it through the press immediately, to prove that John Milton had copied it in his "Paradise Lost." Whereupon all England rose in its wrath to defend its idol. Lauder was convicted of having intercalated in the "Sarcotis," a Latin translation of some of the lines of "Paradise Lost," and had to hide himself in some foreign land to expiate his crime against the national infatuation. Four years later (1757), Abbe Denouart published a translation of the genuine text of "Sarcotis." The poem was found to be an excellent piece of work, and like "Paradise Lost," its theme was the disobedience of Adam and Eve, their expulsion from Paradise, the disasters consequent upon this sin of pride. Whether Milton ever read "Sarcotis" is not stated.
Link (here) to the mentioned portion of the book entitled The Jesuits, 1534-1921

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