« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
greeably imposed upon, and fancied turns upon this incident, Virgil went that it was Cato, and not he him out of his way to make this reflecfelf, who uttered his thoughts on tion upon it, without which so small that fubject.
a circumstance might possibly have If the reader would be at the Nipped out of his reader's memory. pains to fee how the story of the l- Lucan, who was an injudicious poet, liad and Æneid is delivered by those lets drop his story very frequently persons who act in it, he will be sur- for the lake of his unnecellary dia prised to find so little in either of greflions, or his diverticula, as Scathese poenis proceeds from the au- liger calls them. If he gives us an thors. Milton has, in the general account of the prodigies which predisposition of his fable, very finely ceded the civil war, he declames upobferved this great rule ; infomuch, on the occasion, and thows how that there is scarce a third part of it much happier it would be for man, which comes from the poet; the if he did not feel his evil fortune reft is spoken either by Adam and before it comes to pass, and suffer Eve, or by some good or evil Spirit not only by its real weight, but by who is engaged either in their de- the apprehension of it. Milton's struction or defense.
complaint of his blindness, his paFroin what has been here obser- negyric on marriage, his reflections ved, it appears that digressions are on Adam and Eve's going naked, by no means to be allowed of in an of the Angel's eating, and several epic poem. If the poet, even in other pallages in his poem, are liathe ordinary course of his narration, ble to the same exception, tho' I fhould speak as little as possible, he must confess, there is so great a Mould certainly never let his narrar beauty in these very digressions that tion flecp for the sake of any reflec. I would not with them out of his tions of his own. Thave often ob- poem. ferved, with a secret admiration, I have, in a former paper, spoken that the longest reflection in the Æ of the characters of Milton's Paraneid is in that passage of the tenth dise Lolt, and declared my opinion, book, where Turnus is represented as to the allegorical persons who are as dresling bimself in the spoils of introduced in it. Pallas, whom he had sain. Virgil If we look into the sentiments, I here lets his fable stand till for the think they are sometimes defective fake of the following remark. under the following heads; Firit,
How is the mind of man ignorant as there are several of them 100 • of futurity, and unable to bear much pointed, and some that dege. • prosperous fortune with modera nerate even into punns. Of this last • tion? The time will come when kind, I am afraid is that in the first • Turnus fhall wish that he had left book, where speaking of the pig
the body of Pallas untouched, mies, he calls them,
and curie the day on which he • drelied himself in these spoils,
- the small infantry As the great event of the Æneid, Warrd on by cranes and the death of Turnus, whom Encas flaw, because he law him a. Another blemish that appears dorned with the spoils of Pallas, some of his thoughts, is his frequent
allufion to heathen fables, which to these foreign affitances. are not certainly of a piece with the language funk under him, and was divine subject, of which he treats. unequal to that greatness of foul, I do not find fault with these allufi- which furnibed him with such glo, ons, where the poet himself repre- rious conceptions. sents them as fabulous, as he does in A second fault in his language is, some places, but where he mentions that he often affects a kind of jingle them as truths and matters of fact. in his words, as in the following The limits of my paper will not give paffages, and many others : me leave to be particular in ipitan. ces of this kind: The reader will That brought into this world . easily remark them in his perusal of world of woe. the poem:
-- Begirt th' almighty tarone A third fault in his sentiments, is Befeeching or befieging an unnecessary oftentation of learn This tempted our attempt ing, which likewise occurs very fre At one flight bound high over-leapt quently. It is certain, that both Ho. all bound. mer and Virgil were masters of all the learning of their times, but it shows I know there are figures for this itself in their works, after an indirect kind of speech, chat some of the and concealed manner. Milton seems greateit Ancients have been guilty ambitious of letting us know, by of it, and that Ariltotle himself has his excursions on free will and pre- given it a place in his Rhetoric adestination, and his many glances mong the beauties of that art. But upon hiftory, astronomy, geogra as it is in itself poor and trifling, it phy, and the like, as well as by the is I think at present universally exterms and phrases he sometimes ploded by all the maiters of polite makes use of, that he was acquaint- writing. ed with the whole circle of arts and The last fault which I shall take Sciences.
notice of in Milton's ftile, is the If, in the last place, we consider frequent use of what the learned call the language of this great poet, we technical words, or terms of art. It must allow what I have hinted in a is one of the great beauties of poeformer paper, that it is often too try, to make hard things intelligimuch labored, and sometimes ob- ble, and to deliver what is abftrufe scured by old words, transpofitions, of itself in fuch easy language as and foreign idioms. Seneca's ob- may be underhood by ordinary reajection to the file of a great author, ders: Besides that the knowledge of Riget ejus oratio, nihil in ea placi- a poet should rather seem born with dum, nihil lene, is what many cri- bim, or inspired, than drawn from tics make to Milton : As I cannot books and lytiems. I have often wholly refute it, so I have already wondered, how Mr. Dryden could apologized for it in another paper; translate a pallage out of Virgil in to which I may farther add, that the foilowing manner, Milton's sentiments and ideas were so wonderfully fublime, that it would Tack to the larboard, and Rand off have been impossible for him to have represented them in their full frength Veer kar bourd sea and land.and beauty, without having recourse
Milton makes use of larboard in the I HAVE seen in the works of fame manner. When he is upon a modern philosopher, a map of the building, he mentions Doric pillars, spots in the sun. My last paper of pilafires, cornice, freeze, architrave. the faults and blemishes in Milton's When he talks of heavenly bodies, Paradise Lost, may be considered as you meet with ecliptic, and eccentric, a piece of the same nature.
To the trepidation, fars dropping from the pursue the allusion : As it is obferZenith, rays culminating from the e- ved, that among the bright parts of quator. To which might be added the luminous body above-mention. many instances of the like kind in ed, there are some which glow more Several other arts and sciences. intensely, and dart a stronger light
I shall in my next papers give an than others ; so, notwithstanding I account of the many particular beau- have already shown Milton's poem ties in Milton, which would have to be very beautiful in general, I been too long to insert under those hall now proceed to take notice of general heads I have already treated such beauties as appear to me more of, and with which I intend to con- exquisite than the rest. clude this piece of criticism,