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the Hills was not altogether so daring a Thought as the former. We are, in some measure, prepared for such an Incident by the Description of the Gyants War, which we meet with among the Ancient Poets. What still made this Circumstance the more proper for the Poets use, is the Opinion of many learned Men, that the Fable of the Gyants War, which makes so great a Noise in Antiquity, [and gave Birth to the sublimest Description in Hesiod's Works,) was an Allegory founded upon this very Tradition of a Fight between the good and bad Angels. It may, perhaps, be worth while to consider with what Judgment Milton, in this Narration, has avoided everything that is mean and trivial in the Descriptions of the Latin and Greek Poets; and, at the same time, improved every great Hint which he met with in their Works upon this Subjećt. Homerin that Passage, which Longinus has celebrated for its Sublimeness, and which Virgil and Ovid have copied after him, tells us, that the Gyants threw Offa upon Olympus, and Pelion upon Offa. He adds an Epithet to Pelion (eivogiqux\ov) which very much swells the Idea, by bringing up to the Reader's Imagination all the Woods that grew upon it. There is further a great Beauty in his fingling out by Name these three remarkable Mountains so well known to the Greeks. This last is such a Beauty as the Scene of Milton's War could not possibly furnish him with. Claudian in his Fragment upon the Gyants War, has given full Scope to that wildness of Imagination which was natural to him. He tells us, that the Gyants tore up whole Islands by the Roots, and threw them at the Gods. He describes one of them in particular taking up Zemmos in his Arms, and whirling it to the Skies, with all Vulcan's Shop in the midst of it. Another tears up Mount Ida, with the River Enipeus which ran down the sides of it ; but the Poet, not content to describe him with this Mountain upon his Shoulders, tells us that the River flowed down his Back, as he held it up in that
Asomer tells us in the same manner, that upon Piomedes wounding the Gods, there flow'd from the Wound an Ichor, or pure kind of Blood, which was not bred from Mortal Viands; and that tho’ the Pain was exquisitely great, the Wound soon closed up and healed in those Beings who are vested with Immortality.
I question not but Milton in his Description of his furious Moloch flying from the Battel, and bellowing with the Wound he had receiv'd, had his Eye upon Mars in the Iliad, who upon his being wounded, is represented as retiring out of the Fight, and making an Outcry louder than that of a whole Army when it
begins the Charge. Homer adds, that the Greeks and Trojans, who were engaged in a general Battel, were terrified on each side with the bellowing of this wounded Deity. The Reader will easily observe how Milton has kept all the horrour of this Image without running into the Ridicule of it.
The Reader will easily discover many other Stroaks of the same nature.
There is no question but Milton had heated his Imagination with the Fight of the Gods in Homer, before he entered upon this Engagement of the Angels. Homer there gives us a Scene of Men, Heroes and Gods mixed together in Battel. Mars animates the contending Armies, and lifts up his Voice in such a manner, that it is heard distinétly amidst all the Shouts and Confusion of the Fight. 9°upiter at the same time Thunders over their Heads; while Neptune raises such a Tempest, that the whole Field of Battel. and all the tops of the Mountains shake about them, The Poet tells us, that Pluto himself, whose Habitation was in the very Center of the Earth, was so asf]frighted at the shock, that he leapt from his Throne. Homer afterwards describes Vulcan as pouring down a Storm of Fire upon the River Xanthus, and Minerva as throwing a Rock at Mars; who, he tells us, covered seven Acres in his Fall. As Homer has introduced into his Battel of the Gods every thing that is great and terrible in Nature, Milton has filled his Fight of Good and Bad Angels with all the like Circumstances of Horrour. The Shout of Armies, the Rattling of Brazen Chariots, the Hurling of Rocks and Mountains, the Earthquake, the Fire, the Thunder, are all of them employed to lift up the Reader's Imagination, and give him a suitable Idea of so great an Aćtion. With what Art has the Poet represented the whole Body of the Earth trembling, even before it was created.