Page images
PDF
EPUB

Wisdom to folly', as nourishment to wind. 130

Know then, that after Lucifer from Heaven (So call him, brighter once amidst the host Of Angels, than that star the stars among) Fell with his flaming legions through the deep Into his place, and the great Son return'd 135 Victorious with his Saints, th' omnipotent Eternal Father from his throne beheld Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake.

At least our envious foe hath fail'd, who thought All like himself rebellious, by whose aid 140 This inaccessible high strength, the seat Of deity supreme, us dispossess’d, He trusted to have seis'd, and into fraud

Drew

been employ'd here, when he is

143

and into fraud speaking of things not reveal'd, fup Drew many,] Fraud in common prefi'd in night, to none communicable acceptation means no more than in Earth or Heaven, neither to Men deceit, but often fignifies misfortune. nor Angels, as it is said of the day Milton, who so constantly makes of judgment, Mat. XXIV. 36. Of Latin or Greek of English, does it that day and bour knoweth no Man, here, and extends the idea to the no not the Angels of Heaven, but my misery, the punishment consequent Fatber only.

upon the deceit, as well as the de135. Into his place,] As the traitor ceit itself. So that Satan is faid here, Judas is said likewise to go to bis not only to have drawn many into, own place, Acts I. 25.

fraud, not only that he 139. At leaf] I don't like taking

allur'd them, and with lies liberties with the original text, or

Drew after him the third

part

of elle I should choose to read At laft.

Heay'n's hoft,

Thyer. VOL. II.

B

as

Within the visible diurnal sphere;
Standing on earth, not rapt above the pole,
More fafe I fing with mortal voice, unchang'd
To hoarse or mute, though fall’n on evil days, 25
On evil days though fall’n, and evil tongues;
In darkness, and with dangers compass’d round,
And solitude ; yet not alone, while thou
Visit’ft

my

Numbers nightly, or when morn
Purples the east: ftill

govern
thou my song,

30 Urania, and fit audience find, though few.

But bound. Bound here seems to be a supposes; and then all is good sense, participle as well

' as unjung. Half and there will be no need to read yet remains unsung; but this other with the Doctor, To hoarse or low. half is not rapt fo much into the

Pearce. invisible world as the former, it is

25. - though fallin on evil days,] confin'd in narrower compass, and The repetition and turn of the words bound within the visible sphere of is very beautiful, day

though fall'n on evil days, 24. More safe I fing with mortal voice, unchang

On evil days though fall'n, and evil To hearse or mute,] Dr. Bentley

tongues ; &c. reads with lofty voice. Why mortal A lively picture this in a few lines voice?. says the Doctor. I answer, of the poet's wretched condition. because Milton had said in ver. 2. In darkness, though is till understood ; that he had follow'd Urania's voice he was not become hoarse or mute divine. Again (says the Doctor) if though in darkness, though he was his voice had grown hoarse, would blind, and with dangers compofs'd it not have been still mortal? and round, and solitude, obnoxious to the what is a voice changed to mute? government, and having a world of Both these questions are satisfy'd by enemies among the royal party, and putting only a comma, as in the therefore oblig'd to live very much first editions, (not a colon, as the in privacy and alone. And what Doctor has done) after mute. The strength of mind was it, that could words unchang'd to boarse or mute not only support him under the refer to 1, and not to voice, as he weight of these misfortunes, but ena

ble

40

But drive far off the barbarous diffonance
Of Bacchus and his revelers, the race
Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard
In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears

35
To rapture, till the savage clamor drown’d
Both harp and voice ; nor could the Muse defend
Her son. So fail not thou, who thee implores:
For thou art heav'nly, she an empty dream.

Say Goddess, what ensued when Raphaël, The affable Arch-Angel, had forewarn'd

Adam ble him to soar to such highths, as no 40.-- what ensued when Raphaël, human genius ever reached before? &c.] Longinus has observed, 31.- and fit audience find, though that there may be a loftiness in sen

few.) He had Horace in timents, where there is no paffion, mind, Sat. 1. X. 73.

and brings instances out of ancient -neque te ut miretur turba, labores, authors to support this his opinion. Contentus paucis lectoribus.

observes, may animate and inflame 33. Of Bacchus and his revelers,] the fublime, but is not essential to it. It is not improbable that the poet Accordingly, as he further remarks, intended this as an oblique fatir upon we very often find that those who the diffoluteness of Charles the se. excel most in stirring up the passions, cond and his court; from whom he very often want the talent of writing feems to apprehend the fate of Or. in the great and sublime manner, pheus, a famous poet of Thrace, and so on the contrary. Milton has who tho' he is said to have charm'd thown himself a master in both thesc woods and rocks with his divine ways of writing. The seventh book, fongs, yet was torn to pieces by the which we are now entring upon, is Bacchanalian women on Rhodope a an instance of that sublime, which mountain of Thrace, nor could the is not mixed and worked up with Muse Calliope his mother defend passion. The author appears in a him. So fail not thou, who thee im. kind of composed and sedate maplores; nor was his with ineffectual, jesty; and tho' the sentiments do for the government suffer'd him to not give so great an emotion, as those live and die unmolested.

in the former book, they abound

Adam by dire example to beware
Apostasy, by what befel in Heaven
To those apostates, left the like befall
In Paradise to Adam or his race,

4$
Charg'd not to touch the interdicted tree,
If they transgress, and light that sole command,
So easily obey'd amid the choice
Of all tastes else to please their appetite,
Though wand'ring. He with his consorted Eve

50 The story heard attentive, and was fill'd With admiration and deep muse, to hear Of things fo high and strange, things to their thought So unimaginable as hate in Heaven,

And with as magnificent ideas. The sixth flame from another, and writes in book, like a troubled ocean, repre- his spirit

, without copying, fervily sents greatness in confufion; the fe- after him. There are a thousand venth affects the imagination like thining passages in Virgil, which the ocean in a calm, and fills the have been lighted up by Homer. mind of the reader, without pro- Milton, tho' his own natural strength ducing in it any thing like tumult of genius was capable of furnishing or agitation. The critic above men- out a perfect work, has doubtless tion'd, among the rules which he very much raised and ennobled his lays down for succeeding in the sub- conceptions, by such an imitation as lime way of writing, proposes to his that which Longinus has recomreader, that he should imitate the mended. In this book, which gives most celebrated authors who have us an account of the six days works, gone before him, and been engaged the poet received very few affistances in works of the same nature ; as in from Heathen writers, who were particular, that if he writes on a strangers to the wonders of creation. poetical subject, he should consider But as there are many glorious how Homer would have spoken on strokes of poetry upon this subject such an occasion. By this means in holy Writ, the author has numone great genius often catches the berless allusions to them through the

whole

55

And war so near the

peace

of God in bliss
With such confusion : but the evil foon
Driv'n back redounded as a flood on those
From whom it sprung, impossible to mix
With blessedness. Whence Adam foon repeal'd
The doubts that in his heart arose : and now
Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know
What nearer might concern him, how this world
Of Heav'n and Earth conspicuous first began,
When, and whereof created, for what cause,
What within Eden or without was done

65 Before his memory, as one whose drouth Yet scarce allay'd still eyes the current stream,

Whose whole course of this book. The the like befall to Adam or his race, if great critic I have before mention'd, they transgress, &c. though an Heathen, has taken notice of the sublime manner in which 50.- He with his conforted Eve] the Lawgiver of the Jews has de. Conforted from Confort, Cum conscribed the creation in the first chap- forte tori, as Ovid says, Met. I. ter of Genesis; and there are many 319. other passages in Scripture which rise up to the same majesty, where 59.- Whence Adam foon repeald this subject is touched upon. Milton The doubts that in his heart arose:] has shown his judgment very re- Dr. Bentley would read dispelld: markably, in making use of such of but if an alteration were necessary, these as were proper for his poem, I should rather read repell’d, as in and in duly qualifying those high ver. 610. we have — their counsels ftrains of eastern poetry, which were vain Thou haft repell d. But in the fuited to readers, whose imagina. fame fenfe as a law is said to be retions were set to a higher pitch than peal’d, when an end is put to all the those of colder climates. · Addison. force and effect of it; fo, when

47. If they transgress, &c.] We doubts are at an end, they may be Thould oblerve the connexion ; Left said to be repeald. Pearce.

69. Pro

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »