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And keep unfteady nature to her law,
And the low world in measur'd motion draw
After the heavenly tune, which none can hear
Of human mold, with grofs unpurged ear.

In a Prolufion on the same subject, we read much the fame platonic fentiments. Quod autem nos hanc minime audiamus harmoniam, fane in caufa videtur effe furacis Promethei audacia, quæ tot mala hominibus invexit, et fimul hanc felicitatem nobis abftulit, qua nec unquam frui licebit, dum, fceleribus cooperti, belluinis cupiditatibus obrutefcimus. At fi pura, fi cafta, fi nivea gestaremus pectora, tum quidem fuaviffima illa ftellarum circumeuntium mufica perfonarent aures noftræ, et opplerentur...... Per id, [Pythagoras] innuere voluit amiciffimos orbium complexus, æquabilefque in æternum ad fixam fati legem concurfiones. Hunc fecutus eft Plato, dum cæli orbibus firenes quafdam infidere tradidit*."

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I fhall conclude this digreffion with obferving, that Milton's peculiar genius for describing DIVINE things, which fhines with fo diftinguished a luftre in the Paradife Loft, discovered itself in his moft early productions. In his juvenile poems we read frequent defcriptions of the blifs and splendor of heaven, of the

*Pag. 588. et feq. De Sphær, con,


glory of celestial beings, of angelic music, and other abftracted objects, to which the fancy foars,


Of this the paffages cited above from Lycidas, and Epitaphium Damonis, the Odes on the Nativity, Gircumcifion, at a Solemn Mufic, &c. are convincing teftimonies. Even at the age of feventeen, we find, that a difpofition to conceive ideas of this kind began to dawn in his imagination.



But these are the ideas of a mind deeply tinctured with romance-reading; to which perhaps, and to the puritanical caft of the times, which led to religious fubjects, we owe the general argument, and moft confeffedly, many particular descriptions, of the nobleft effort of modern poetry, the Paradife Loft.

* Cervantes and Milton, who both had studied the fame books with, pleasure, both express the idea of a prodigious concourse of people by the fame fimile from Romance. Par. Reg. iii. 336.

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But to return to Spenfer...... To these must be added fome of his ambiguities.

B. i. c. vii. f. xlvi.

Bred in the loathly lakes of Tartary.

The poet fhould not have used Tartary here for Tartarus, as it might be fo eafily mistaken for the country of that name. He has committed the fame fault in Virgil's Gnat.

Laftly the fqualid lakes of TARTARIE.

B. ii. c. x. f. xv.

Did head against them make, and ftrong MUNIFICENCE.

By MUNIFICENCE our author fignifies defence, or fortification; from munio and facio. This is a word

The fairest of her fex, Angelica

His daughter; fought by many proweft knights, Poth paynim and the peers of Charlemagne : Such and fo numerous was their chivalry. Thus Cervantes, D. Quix. b. 2. ch. 2. "For before we are two "hours in these crois-ways, we fhall fee armed men more numerous "than those that came to Albracca, to win Angelica the Fair." Agrican the king of Tartary brings into the field, two millions two hundred thousand men: Sacrapante, the king of Circaffia, who comes to the affiftance of Gallaphrone, three hundred and eighty two thousand. It is from Boiardo, Orl. Inam. 1. 10. Perhaps it will be thought, that Cervantes has here by far exceeded Milton in the propriety of introducing and applying this extravagant fiction.


injudiciously coined by Spenfer, as the fame word in our language fignifies quite another thing. Milton perhaps is more blameable for a fault of this kind.

Now had they brought the work, by wondrous art

As the ambiguous term pontifical may be so easily conftrued into a pun, and may be interpreted popish as well as bridge-making. Befides the quaintnefs of the expreffion.

B. iii. c. i. f. xxxvi.

And whilft he bathd with her two crafty spyes
She secretly would fearch each dainty lim.

Crafty pyes is here a periphrafis for eyes, but a very inartificial one; as it may fo easily be mistaken for two persons whom the employed, with herself, to fearch, &c.

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Of Spenfer's Imitations of Himself.


NOMMENTATORS of lefs tafte than learn ing, of less discernment than oftentation, have taken infinite pains to point out, and compare, thofe paffages which their refpective authors have imitated from others. This difquifition, if executed with a judicious moderation, and extended no further than to those paffages which are distinguished with certain indubitable characters, and internal evidences of tranfscription or imitation, must prove an inftructive and entertaining research. It tends to regulate our ideas of the peculiar merit of any writer, by fhewing what degree of genuine invention he poffeffes, and how far he has improved the materials of another by his own art and manner of application. In the mean time, it naturally gratifies every reader's inquifitive disposition. But where even the most apparent traces of likeness are found, how feldom can we determine with truth and juftice, as the most sensible and ingenious of modern critics has finely proved, that an imitation was intended*? How commonly in this case, to use the



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