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from the earliest ages, down to the present time, the rise and progress of knowledge, did not the limits of a Preface prevent the possibility of doing the subject that justice it so eminently deserves. In this Scriptural and Allegorical Glossary of Milton's Paradise Lost, I have endeavoured to illustrate the mythological parts of that divine poem, in which the author so prolifically abounds with scriptural phrases and quotations, applicable to the work. Whether the object has been attained, those who are most conversant with polite literature, will be the best able to judge. Of a poem so celebrated as Paradise Lost, who would not feel proud to comment upon? The happy spot, who will not be happy to find? In the fourth book of which, it should seem, Milton consulted the fathers, "as to the easterly situation of this garden:" St. Athanasius has a fancy thereupon, extraordinarily poetical, expressive of its riches and its pleasures: that from hence, about the oriental parts of India, there were every where such fragrant scents, and that the spices receive their odours, as if from that happy place;" and hear what the author himself says:
Now gentle gales,
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
As the origin of Paradise Lost may not be
wholly uninteresting to the reader, a short account thereof may be considered as an additional beauty to this feeble attempt of mine.
Milton, observes a celebrated writer, as he was travelling through Italy, in his youth, saw, at Florence, a comedy called Adamò, written by one Andreini, a player, and dedicated to Mary de Medicis, queen of France. The subject of the play was the Fall of Man: the actors, God, the Devils, the Angels, Adam, Eve, the Serpent, Death, and the seven mortal Sins.
A topic, it must be owned, very improper for a drama, but so suitable, at that time, to the absurd genius of the Italian stage. He took, however, from that ridiculous trifle, the first hint of that noble work. Dr. Pearce, in his review of the text of the twelve books, observes, it is probable that Milton took the first hint of the poem from an Italian tragedy called Il Paradiso Perso; although the ingenious Mr. Hayley, in a very extensive research, has found no such performance. In a preface to the poetical works of the Rev. I. Sterling, it is said, that Milton owed his poem to Locusta, a spirited Latin poem, written against the Jesuists.* It is further asserted, that the poet borrowed largely from a poem called the Christiad, written by a Carthusian monk of the
The Jesuists were called Locusts in the theological language of Bishop Lake, in 1629. See his Sermons, p. 205.
convent of Niewport. This poem, which is on the passion of Christ, is in seventeen books, and contains many ideas and descriptions, strikingly similar with those of Milton. Hayley, however, thinks it highly probable that Andreini turned the thoughts of Milton from Alfred to Adam, and first threw into the mind of Milton, the idea of converting Adam into an epic personage. In a work, entitled La Scena Tragica d' Adomo ed Eva, Estratta dalli prima tre capi della Sacree, &c. dedicated to Maria Gonzaga, Duchess of Mantua, a kind of drama, in prose, on the expulsion of our first parents from Paradise. In one part of which there is a very remarkable passage: after suggesting that the Mosaic history of Adam and Eve is purely allegorical, and designed as an incentive to virtue, the author says, "God reveals himself to man, by the intervention of reason, while she supports her sovereignty over the sensual inclinations in man, and preserves the apple of his heart from licentious appetites; in reward for his just obedience, transforms the world into Paradise: of this were I to speak assuredly, I might form an heroic poem worthy of demi-gods." Probably Milton laid the foundation of his Paradise Lost from it. It is, however, possible that Milton might never see the performance of Andreini; yet conjecture has ground enough to conclude that he was acquainted with
it; for Andreini wrote a long allegorical drama on Paradise, and, it is well known, that the fancy of Milton first began to play with the subject, according to that peculiar form of composition.
It has, also, been treated by Lancetta, in the shape of a dramatic allegory; and remarked, that, under the character of Moses, the subject might form an incomparable epic poem; and Milton, quitting his own hasty sketches of allegorical dramas, accomplished a work which answers to that intention. A sketch of this drama will shew, at once, whether Milton was indebted to the above authorities for his poem.
ACT 1, Scene 1. God commemorates his creation of the heavens, the earth, and the water; determines to make man, gives him vital spirit, and admonishes him to revere his maker, and live innocent.
Scene 2. Raphael, Michael, Gabriel aud Angels. Raphael praises the works of God: the other angels follow his example, particularly in regard to man.
Scene 3. God and Adam. God gives Paradise to Adam, to hold as a fief; forbids him to touch the apple. Adam promises obedience.
Scene 4. Adam acknowledges the beneficence of God and retires to repose in the shade.
- ACT 2, Scene 1. God and Adam. God resolves to form a companion for Adam, and does
so while he is sleeping; he then awakes Adam, and presenting to him his new associate blesses them both, then leaves them recommending obedience to his commands.
Scene 2. Adam and Eve. Adam receives Eve as his wife; praises her, and entreats her to join with him in revering and obeying God; she promises submission to his will, and entreats his instruction; he tells her the prohibition and enlarges on the beauties of Paradise; on his speaking of flocks she desires to see them, and he departs to show her the various animals.
Scene 3. Lucifer, Belial, Satan. Lucifer laments his expulsion from Heaven, and meditates revenge against man; the other demons relate the cause of their expulsion, and stimulate Lucifer to revenge he meditates-he resolves to employ the serpent.
Scene 4. The Serpent, Eve, Lucifer. The Serpent questions Eve-derides her fear and her obedience-tempts her to taste the apple-she expresses her eagerness to do so-the serpent exults in the prospect of her perdition. Lucifer (who seems to remain as a separate person from the Serpent) expresses also his exultation, and steps aside to hear a dialogue between Adam and Eve.
-Scene 5. Eve, Adam. Eve declares her resolution to taste the apple, and presents it to her