Page images


Or emptiness, or fond impertinence,
And renders us in things that most concern
Unpractic’d, unprepar’d, and still to seek.
Therefore from this high pitch let us descend
A lower flight, and speak of things at hand
Useful, whence haply mention may arise

Of something not unseasonable to ask
By sufferance, and thy wonted favor deign'd.
Thee I have heard relating what was done
Ere my remembrance: now hear me relate
My story, which perhaps thou hast not heard ; 205



now bear me relate As our author knew this subject could My story,] Adam, to detain the not but be agreeable to his reader, Angel, enters upon his own history, he would not throw it into the reand relates to him the circumstances lation of the fix days works, but in which he found himself upon his reserved it for a diftin&t episode, that creation; as also his conversation he might have an opportunity of with his Maker, and his first meet- expatiating upon it more at large. ing with Eve. There is no part of Before I enter on this part of the the poem

more apt to raise the at- poem, I cannot but take notice of tention of the reader, than this dis- two shining passages in the dialogue course of our great ancestor; as no- between Adam and the Angel. The thing can be more furprising and first is that wherein our ancestor gives delightful to us, than to hear the an account of the pleasure he took sentiments that arose in the first man in conversing with him, which conwhile he was yet new and fresh tains a very noble moral. from the hands of his Creator. The

For while I fit with thee, I seem poet has interwoven every thing

in Heaven &c. which is delivered upon this subject in holy Writ with so many beautiful The other I shall mention is that in imaginations of his own, that no- which the Angel gives a reason why thing can be conceived more just he should be glad to hear the story and natural than this whole episode, Adam was about to relate.



And day is yet not fpent; till then thou seest
How subtly to detain thee I devise,
Inviting thee to hear while I relate,
Fond, were it not in hope of thy reply :
For while I fit with theė, I seem in Heaven,
And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear
Than fruits of palm-trée pleasantest to thirst
And hunger both, from labor, at the hour
Of sweet repast; they satiate, and soon fill 214
Though pleasant, but thy words with


divine Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety.


For I that day was absent, &c. As to the feverish traveler, when



He finds a crystal stream to quench 211. And sweeter thy discourse is to

his thirst. Dryden. my ear &c.] The poet had here probably in mind that passage But the fine turn in the three last in Virgil , Ed. V. 45.

lines of Milton is entirely his own, Tale tuum carmen nobis, divine and gives an exquitite beauty to this poeta,

paflage above Virgil's. See An El ay Quale fopor feflis in gramine: quale upon Milton's imitations of the Ana per æftum

cients, p. 37 Dulcis aquæ faliente fitim reftin

212. - fruits of palm-trer] The

palm tree bears a fruit call’d a date, O heav'nly poet! such thy verse full of sweet juice, a great restora appears,

tive to dry and exhausted booies by So sweet, fo charming to my ra- augmenting the radical moisture. vilh'd ears,

There is one kind of it called Paima As to the weary swain, with cares Ægyptiacz., which from its virtue oppreft,

against drouth was named Adefoss Beneath the sylvan hade, refreh. fitim sedans. Hume. ing reit;

F 2

218. Mer

guere rivo.

To whom thus Raphael answer'd heav'nly meek. Nor are thy lips ungraceful, Sire of men, Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee Abundantly his gifts hath also pour'd

220 Inward and outward both, his image fair: Speaking or mute all comeliness and

grace Attends thee, and each word, each motion forms; Nor less think we in Heav'n of thee on Earth Than of our fellow servant, and inquire 225 Gladly into the ways of God with Man: For God we see hath honor'd thee, and set On Man his equal love : say therefore on;

For 218. Nor are thy lips ungraceful,] be fure, he must have had by hearAlluding to Pfal. XLV. 3. Full of lay or inspiration. Milton had very grace are thy lips.

good reason to make the Angel 221. Inward and outrward both, absent now, not only to vary his

bis image fair:] One would speaker, but because Adam could think by this word outward that beft, or only, tell fome particulars

Richardson. Milton was of the feet of Anthropo- not to be omitted. morphites, as well as Materialists.



gates of Hell ;] Hom. Warburton. Iliad. XXIII. 71. wunas aidac. 225. Than of our fellow fervant,]

233. To see that none thence ifjued So the Angel says unto St. John,

forth &c.] As Man was to Rev. XXII. 9. I am thy fellozu ser. be the principal work of God in this

lower world, and (according to Mil229. For I that day was absent,] ton's hypothesis) a creature to supThe fixth day of creation. Of all ply the loss of the fallen Angels, fo the rest, of which he has given an particular care is taken at his creaaccount, he might have been an tion. The Angels on that day keep eye-witness, and speak from his own watch and guard at the gates of Hell, knowledge: what he has said of this that none may illue forth to interday's work, of Adam's original, to rupt the sacred work, At the same


- For I that day was absent, as befel, Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure,

230 Far on excursion tow’ard the gates of Hell; Squar'd in full legion (such command we had) To see that none thence issued forth a spy, Or enemy, while God was in his work, Lest he incens'd at such eruption bold, 235 Destruction with creation might have mix'd. Not that they durst without his leave attempt, But us he fends upon his high behests For state, as Sovran King, and to inure Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut 240

The time that this was a very good rea Verbera; tum ftridor ferri, tractæ. son for the Angel's absence, it is

que catena: likewise doing honor to the Man

Conftitit Æneas, ftrepitumque exwith whom he was converfing.

territus haufit. 240 --- Fajt we found, fast put &c] From hence are heard the groans There is no question but our poet

of ghosts, the pains drew the image in what follows from Of sounding lashes and of dragging that in Virgil's fixth book, where

chains : Æneas and the Sibyl stand before The Trojan stood astonih'd at their the adamantin gates, which are there


upon the place of

And in like manner Astolfo in Or. torments, and listen to the groans, lando Furioso is represented liftning the clank of chains, and the noise

at the mouth of Hell, Cant. 34. St. 4.
of iron whips, that were heard in
those regions of pain and sorrow. L'orecchie attente à lo spiraglio

Addison. tenne,
The reader will not be displeased to

E l'aria ne senti percossa, e rotta see the passage, Æn. VI. 557.

Da pianti, e d'urli, e da lamento Hinc exaudiri gemitus, et sæva so- Segno evidente, quivi esser l'inferno. nare

as hut


Heareafter, when they come to model Heaven
And calculate the stars, how they will wield

The mighty frame, how build, unbuild, contrive
To save appearances, how gird the sphere
With centric and eccentric scribled o'er,
Cycle and epicycle, orb:
Already by thy reasoning this I guess,

85 Who art to lead thy ofspring, and suppofest That bodies bright and greater

should not serve The less not bright, nor Heav’n such journeys run, Earth sitting still, when she alone receives The benefit: consider first, that great Or bright infers not excellence: the earth Though, in comparison of Heav'n, so small, Nor glist'ring, may of solid good contain More plenty than the sun that barren shines,



80. And calculate the furs,] The culate them is to make a computasense is, And form a judgment of tion of every thing relating to them: the stars by computing their

motions, the consequence of which is in the distance, fituation, & C, as to calculate old fyftem especially) centric and eca nativity fignifies to form a judg.centric, cycle and epicycle, and orb in ment of the events attending it, by orb. Pearce. computing what planets, in what 83. With centric and eccentric] motions, presided over that nativity. Centric or concentric are such spheres But Dr. Bentley takes calculating the whose center is the same with, and fars here to mean counting their eccentric such whose centers are difnumbers. That might be one thing ferent from that of the earth. Cycle intended; but it is not all. To cale is a circle ; Epicycle is a circle upon


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »