Page images

Illumin, what is low raise and support;
That to the height of this great argument

assert eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to Men.

Say first, for Heav’n hides nothing from thy view, Nor the deep tract of Hell, say first what cause



informed by those, who had oppor- bird, because the descent of the tunities of conversing with his wi- Holy Ghost is compared to a dove dow, that she was wont to say that in Scripture, Luke III. 22. As he did really look upon himself as Milton studied the Scriptures in inspir’d, and I think his works are the original languages, his images not without a spirit of enthusiasm. and expressions are oftener copied In the beginning of his ad book from them, than from our translaof The Reason of Church government, tion. speaking of his design of writing

26. And justify the ways of God a poem in the English language, he says, “ It was not to be obtained

to Men.] A verie, which by the invocation of Dame Me- Mr. Pope has thought fit to bor“ mory and her Siren daughters,

row with some little variation, in “ but by devout prayer to that the beginning of his Essay on Man, “ eternal Spirit who can enrich “ with all utterance and know

But vindicate the ways of God to

Man. ledge, and sends out his Sera“ phim, with the hallow'd fire of “ his altar, to touch and purify the It is not easy to conceive any good “ lips of whom he pleafes, p. 61. reason for Mr Pope's preferring

the word vindirate, but Milton

makes use of the word juftify, as it 19 Infrua me, for Theuknou;] is the Scripture word, That thou Theocrit. Idyl. XXII. 116.

mightest be justified in thy sayings, Rom. III.


And the ways of God Ειπε θεα, συ γαρ οισθα.

10 Men are justified in the many ar

gumentative discourses throughout 21. Dove-like fatfit brooding] Al- conferences between God the Fa

the poem, and particularly in the luding to Gen. I. 2. the Spirit of ther and the Son. God moved on the face of the waters; for the word that we translate moved 27. Say firs, for Heav'n bides signifies properly brooded, as a bird nothing from thy view, doth upon

eggs ;
and he says

Nor the deep tract of Hell,-) The like a dove rather than any other poets attribute kind of omnia


Edit. 1738.

Mov'd our grand parents, in that happy state,
Favor'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off

From their Creator, and transgress his will
For one restraint, lords of the world besides?
Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt?
Th’infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile,


35 The mother of mankind, what time his pride


science to the Muse, and very T'infernal Serpent ;] An imitarightly, as it enables them to speak tion of Homer, Iliad. 1. 8. where of things which could not other- the question is ask'd, and the anwise be supposed to come to their swer return’d much in the fame knowledge. Thus Homer, Iliad.


II. 485

Υμεςι γαρ θεαι εσε, παρεσε τε, οι

Τις τ' αρ σφωε θεων εριο ξυνε ηκι

μαχισθαι και
τε σαλα.

Λητες και Δια υιο».
And Virgil Æn. VII. 645.

38. - by whose aid aspiring Et meministis enim, Divæ, & me To set himself in glory above bis morare poteitis.

peers,] Here Dr. Bentley obMilton's Muse, being the Holy Spi- his aiming above his peers: he was

jects, that Satan's crime was not, rit, muit of course be omniscient. And the mention of Heaven and

in place high above them before, as heil is very proper in this place, as

the Doctor proves from V. 812.

But tho' this be true, yet Milton the scene of fo great a part of the poem is laid sometimes in Hell, of the words seems, not that Satan

may be right here; for the force and sometimes in Heaven,

aspir’d to set himself above his peers,

but that he aspir'd 10 set himself in 32. For one restraint.] For one thing that was restrain’d, 'every glory, &c. that is in divine gory, iking else being freely indulged to

in such glory as God and his son them, and only the tree of know

were set in. Here was his crime : ledge forbidden.

and this is what God charges him

wiih in V.725. 33. Who first seduc'rt them to that foul revolt?


Had cast him out from Heav'n, with all his hoft
Of rebel Angels, by whose aid aspiring
To set himself in glory' above his peers,
He trusted to have equal’d the most High,
If he oppos'd; and with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God
Rais'd impious war in Heav'n and battel proud
With vain attempt. Him the almighty Power



who intends to' erect his imitation of the Greeks and Latins throne

often cuts off the vowel at the end Equal to ours,

of a word, when the next word

begins with a vowel; though he And in VI. 88. Milton says that does not like the Greeks wholly the rebel Angels hop'd

drop the vowel, but still retains ít in writing like the Latins. Ano

ther liberty, that he takes likewise To win the mount of God, and for the greater improvement and on his throne

variety of his versification, is proTo set the envier of his state, the nouncing the same word sometimes proud

as two fyllables, and sometimes as Aspirer.

cnly one syilable or two short ones.

We have frequent instances in /piSee also to the fame purpose VII. rit, ruin, riof, reason, highest, and 140. &c. From these passages it several other words. But then these appears that there is no occasion excellencies in Milton's verse are for Dr. Bentley's alteration, which attended with this inconvenience, is this,

that his numbers feem embarass'd

to such readers, as know not, or aspiring know not readily, where such eliTo place and glory above the son fion or abbreviation of vowels is Pearce.

to take place; and therefore for

their fakes we fhall take care Besides the other methods which such vowels as are to be cut off,

throughout this addition to mark Milton has employ'd to diversify and such as are to be contracted and and improve his numbers, he takes

abbreviated thus'. the same liberties as Shakespear and others of our old poets, and in

of God.

45. Huria

Hurld headlong flaming from th'ethereal sky, 45
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantin chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy th’Omnipotent to arms.
Nine times the space that measures day and night 50
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquish'd, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Confounded though immortal : But his doom
Reserv'd him to more wrath; for now the thought


45. Hurld headlong flaming from 48. In adamantin chains] Æschyth' etbereal sky,] Hom. Iliad. lus Prometh. 6.

1. 591.

Αδαμανλινων δεσμών εν αυξηκίοις σε “Ριψε, σοδο- τεαγων, απο βηλα 8215. θεσπεσιοιο. .

50. Nine times, &c.] The nine Hurld headlong downward from days aftonishment, in which the th'ethereal height. Pope.

Angels lay intranced after their

dreadful overthrow and fall from 46. With hideous ruin and com

Heaven, before they could recover buftion,] Ruin is derived from either the use of thought or speech, ruo, and includes the idea of fal- is a noble circumstance, and very ling with violence and precipita- finely imagined. The division of tion, and combustion is more than Hell into seas of fire, and into flaming in the foregoing verse, it is

firm ground impregnant with the burning in a dreadful manner. So same furious element, with that that he was not only burl'd bead particular circumstance of the exlong flaming, but he was hurld clusion of hope from those infernal headlong flaming with hideous ruin regions, are instances of the fame and combustion ; and what occasion great and fruitful invention. is there then for reading with

Addison. Dr. Bentley confufion instead of combuftion?

63. — darkness visible] Milton feems to have used these words to fignify gloom: Absolute darkness

Both of lost happiness and lasting pain

55 Torments him; round he throws his baleful

eyes, That witness’d huge affliction and dismay Mix'd with obdurate pride and stedfalt hate : At once, as far as Angels ken, he views The dismal situation waste and wild ;

60 A dungeon horrible on all sides round As one great furnace flam'd, yet from those flames No light, but rather darkness visible Serv'd only to discover fights of woe,


is ftritly speaking invisible ; but " fome dismal tapers afforded just where there is a gloom only, there light enough to see the obfcuis so much light remaining as

“ rity.” See his Essay on Epic serves to show that there are ob- Poetry, p. 44.. Euripides too ex, jects, and yet that those objects presses himself in the same poetical caunot be distinctly seen : In this manner. Bac. 510. sense Milton seems to use the strong and bold exprcílion, darkney's visible, ως αν σκοτιον εισορα κνεφας.


There is much the same image in Seneca has a like expression, speak. Queen, B. 1. Cant. I. St. 14.

Spenser, but not so bold, Fairy ing of the Grotta of Paulilypo, Senec. Epift. LVII. Nihil illo car

A little glooming light, much like cere longius, nihil illis faucibus ob

a shade. fcurius, que nobis præitant, non ut per tenebras videamus, fed ut ipses. Or after all, the author might perAnd, as Monf. Voltaire obierves, Antonio de Solis, in his excelleni haps take the hint from himself in Hiftory of Mexico, hath ventur's

his Il Penseroso, on the same thought, when speaking of the place wherein Monte

Where glowing embers through zuma was wont to consult his Dei

the room ties; “'Twas a large dark subter

Teach light to counterfeit a “ raneous vault, says he, where


72. Ing

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »