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Addison corrected and re-corrected this last sentence. The first and last readings, as in the original and second editions, are as above. The intermediate reading, according to the Errata in No. 369, of the original issue, is as follows:
As he knew all the Arts of affecting the Mind, he has given it certain resting places and Opportunities os recovering it self from time to time : several Speeches, Reflections, Similitudes, and the like Reliefs being interspersed, to diversifie his Narration, and ease the attention of his Reader.
'[ He sung the secret Seeds of Nature's Frame ;
flow Seas, and Earth, and Air, and attive Flame. Fell thro' the mzghty Void, and in their Fall
Were blindly gather'd in this goodly Ball.
The tender Soil then flifning by degrees
Shut from the bounded Earth the bounding Seas.
And a new Sun to the new World arose. Dryden.]
The Sixth Book, like a troubled Ocean, represents Greatness in Consufion; the Seventh affects the Imagination like the Ocean in a Calm, and fills the Mind of the Reader without producing in it any thing like Tumult or Agitation.
The Critick abovementioned, among the Rules which he lays down for succeeding in the Sublime way of Writing, proposes to his Reader, that he should imitate the most celebrated Authors who have gone before him, and have been engaged in Works of the same nature; as in particular that if he writes on a Poetical Subjeoft, he should confider how Homer would have spoken on such an Occafion. By this means one great Genius often catches the Flame from another, and writes in his Spirit, without copying servilely after him. There are a thousand Shining Passages in Virgil, which have been lighted up by Homer.
slsilton, though his own natural Strength of Genius was capable of furnishing out a perfect Work, has doubtless very much raised and ennobled his Conceptions, by such an Imitation as that which Longinus has recommended.
In this Book, which gives us an Account of the Six Days Works, the Poet received but very few Assistances from Heathen Writers, who were Strangers to the Wonders of Creation. But as there are many Glorious Stroaks of Poetry upon this Subject in Holy Writ, the Author has numberless Allufions to them through the whole Course of this Book. The great Critick, I have before mentioned, tho' an Heathen, has taken notice of the Sublime manner in 'which the Law-giver of the Tezos has described the Creation in the first Chapter of Genesls; and there are many other Passages in Scripture, which rise up to the same Majesty, where this Subject is toucht upon. slsilton has shewn his Judgment very remarkably, in making use of such of these as were proper for his Poem, and in duly qualifying those high Strains of Eastern Poetry,
which were suited to Readers whose Imaginations were set to an higher pitch than those of colder Climates.
Adam's Speech to the Angel, wherein he defires an Account of what had passed within the Regions of Nature before his [the] Creation, is very great and solemn. The following Lines, in which he tells him that the Day is not too far spent for him to enter upon such a Subject, are exquifite in their kind.
God, and cf these Gates of Heaven, and shall here only add, that Homer gives us the same Idea of the latter as opening of themselves, tho' he afterwards takes off from it, by telling us, that the Hours first of all removed those prodigious heaps of Clouds which lay as a Barrier before them.
I do not know any thing in the whole Poem more Sublime than the Description which follows, where the Messiah is represented at the head of his Angels, as looking down into the Chaos, calming its Confufion, riding into the midst of it, and drawing the first Outline of the Creation. .