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~ Down the great river to the opening gulf,
“ And there take root an island salt and bare,
“ The haunt of seals, and orcs, and sea-mews' clang."

The transition which the poet makes, from the vifion of the deluge, to the concern it occafioned in Adam, is exquisitely graceful, and copied after Virgil, though the first thought it introduces is rather in the spirit of Ovid:

“ How didit thou grieve then, Adam to behold
“ The end of all thy offspring, end fo fad,
“ Depopulation! Thee another flood,
“ Of tears and sorrow a flood, thee also drown'd,
“ And funk thee as thy fons; till, gently rear'd

By the Angel, on thy feet thou stood'it at last,

Though comfortless; as when a father mourns “ His children, all in view destroyed at once.”

I have been the more particular in my quotations out of the eleventh book of Paradise Loji, because it is not generally reckoned among the most shining books of this Poem; for which reafon the reader might be apt to overlook those many passages in it which deserve our admiration. The eleventh and twelfth are indeed built upon that single circuinstance of the removal of our first parents from Paradise; but, though this is not in itself fo great a subject as that in most of the foregoing books, it is extended and diversified with so many surprising incidents and pleasing episodes, thạt these two last books can by no means be looked upon as unequal parts of this divine Poem. I must further add, that, had not Milton reprefented our first parents as driven out of Paradise, his Fall of Many would not have been complete,

and consequently his aciion would have been imperfect.

Milton, after having represented in vifion the history of mankind to the first great period of nature, despatches the remaining part of it in narration. He has devised a very handsome reason for the Angel's proceeding with Adam after this manner; though, doubtlets, the true reason was the difficulty which the poet would have found to have shadowed out so mised and complicated a story in visible objects. I could with, however, that the author had done it, whatever pains it might have cost him. To give my opinion freely, I think that the exhibiting part of the history of mankind in vision, and part in narrative, is as if an historypainter should put in colours one half of his subject, and write down the remaining part of it. Elf

k If Nilton's Poim flugs any where, it is in this narration ;] If we have an eye only to poetick decoration,” says Mr. Thyer, “ the remark is juft: but if we view it in another light, and consider in how short a compass he has comprised, and with what strength and clearness he has expreffed, the various actings of God towards mankind, and the mott fublime and deep truths both of the Jewish and Chrifiian theology; it must excite no lefs admiration in the mind of an attentive reader, than the more sprightly focnes of love and innocence in Eden, or the more turbulent ones of angelick war in Heaven. This con.. trivance of Milton's to introduce into his Poem fo many things posterior to the time of action fixed in his first plan, by a vifionary prophetick relation of them, is, it must be allowed, common, with our author, to Virgil and most epick poets fince his time; but there is one thing to be observed fingular in our English poet, which is, that whereas they have all done it prins cipally, if not wholly, to have an opportunity of complimenting their own country and friends, he has not the least mention of, or friendly allution to, bis."

Milton's Poem flags any where, it is in this narration; where in some places the author has been so attentive to his divinity, that he has neglected his poetry. The narration, however, rises very happily on several occasions, where the subject is capable of poetical ornaments, as particularly in the confusion which he describes among the builders of Babel, and in his short sketch of the plagues of Egypt. The ftorm of hail and fire, and the darkness that overspread the land for three days, are described with great strength. The beautiful passage, which follows, is raised upon noble hints in Scripture :

“ Thus with ten wounds “ The river-dragon tam'd at length fubmits '" To let his fojourners depart; and oft " Humbles his stubborn heart; but still, as ice

· With deference to preceding opinions, it seems to me, however, that Milton has not entirely omitted to bestow poetical decoration on the conclusion of his divine Poem ; that the Lwelfth book can boaît a variety of elegant numbers, and a most judicious felection of words. The exhibiting part of the history of mankind in vision, and part in narrative, is not perhaps exactly subject to the cenfure of Mr. Ardifon. It hould be remembered not only that the Angel artfully afligns the reason for discontinuing the vision, and introducing the narration:

" I perceive
“ Thy mortal fight to fail; objects divine

Mujt needs impair and weary human sense-" þut also that many circumstances in the narration, which succeeds, were not capable of being represented to the fight. And thus the reader may admire the judgement with which Milton planned, as well as the perfpicuity with which he has arranged, the concluding parts of Parudise Lost. Todd.

“ More harden'd after thaw: till, in his

rage “ Pursuing whom he late dismiss'd, the sea « Swallows him with his hoft; but them lets pass “ As on dry land between two cryftal walls ; “ Aw'd by the rod of Mofes so to stand 6 Divided

The river-dragon is an allusion to the crocodile, which inhabits the Nile, from whence Egypt derives her plenty. This allusion is taken from that sublime passage in Ezekiel; Thus faith the Lord God, Behold I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lyeth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself.Milton has given us another very noble and poetical image in the fame defcription, wbich is copied almost word for word out of the history of Mofes :

“ All night he will pursue, but his approach
« Darkness defends between till morning watch; &c."

As the principal design of this episode was to give Adam an idea of the Holy Person who was to reinstate human nature in that happiness and perfection from which it had fallen, the poet confines himself to the line of Abraham, from whence the Meffiab was to defcend. The Angel is dea scribed as seeing the patriarch actually travelling towards the Land of Promife, which gives a parficular livelinefs to this part of the narration.

“ I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith
“ He leaves bis Gods, his friends, his native soil,
“ Ur of Chaldea, palling now the ford
“ To Haran; after him a cumbrous train
Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude;

" Not wandering poor, but trusting all his wealth
“ With God, who call'd him, in a land unknown.
“ Canaan he now attains; I see his tents
“ 'Pitch'd about Sechem, and the neighbouring plain
Of Moreh ; there by promise he receives
Gift to his progeny of all that land,
" From Hamath northward to the Desart south ;

(Things by their names I call, though yet unnam'd.)" As Virgil's vision in the sixth Æneid probably gave Milton the hint of this whole episode, the last line is a translation of that verse where Anchises mentions the names of places, which they were to bear hereafter.

Hæc tum nomina erunt, nunc sunt sine nomine terra.

The poet has very finely represented the joy and gladness of heart which rises in Adam upon his discovery of the Messiah. As he fees his day at a distance through types and shadows, he rejoices in it; but when he finds the redemption of man completed, and Paradise again renewed, he breaks forth in rapture and transport;

“ O Goodness infinite, Goodness immense!
That all this good of evil fhall produce, &c."

I have before hinted, that an heroick poem, according to the opinion of the best criticks,

ought to end happily, and leave the mind of the reader, after having conducted it through many doubts and fears, forrows and disquietudes, in a state of tranquillity and satisfaction. Milton's fable, which had so many other qualifications to recommend it, was deficient in this particular. It is here, therefore, that the poet has shown a moft exquisite

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VOL. II.

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