Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

God, and of 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 Confusion, riding into the midst of it, and drawing the first Outline of the Creation.

On Hearnly ground they stood, andfrom the short
They vieu?d the vast immeasurable Abyss
Outragious as a Sea, dark, wasteful, wild,
Up from the bottom turn'd by furious winds
And surging waves, as Mountains to affault
Heav'n's height, and with the Center mix the Pole.

Silence, ye troubled waves, and thou Deep, Peace, Said then th' Omnific word, your Discord end:

Nor staid, but on the wings of Cherubim
Up-lifted, in Paternal Glory rode
Far into Chaos, and the world unborn;
For Chaos heard his voice: him all his train
Follow'd in bright Proceffon to behold
Creation, and the wonders of his might.
Then staid the fervid wheels, and in his hand
He took the golden Compaffes, prepared
In Gods eternal Store, to circumscribe
This Universe, and all created things:
One foot he Center'd, and the other turn'd,
Pound through the vast profundity obscure,
And said, thus far extend, thus far thy bounds,
This be thy just Circumference, O World.

The Thought of the Golden Compasses is conceiv'd altogether in Homer's Spirit, and is a very noble Incident in this wondersul Description. Homer, when he speaks of the Gods, ascribes to them several Arms and Instruments with the fame greatness of Imagination. Let the Reader only peruse the Description of Minerva's Ægis, or Buckler, in the Fifth Book, with her Spear, which could [would] overturn whole Squadrons, and her Helmet, that was sufficient to cover an Army, drawn out of an hundred Cities: The Golden Compasses, in the above-mentioned Passage appear a very natural Instrument in the Hand of him, whom Plato somewhere calls the Divine Geometrician. As Poetry delights in cloathing abstracted Ideas in Allegories and sensible Images, we find a magnificent Description of the Creation form'd after the fame manner in one of the Prophets, wherein he describes the Almighty Architect as measuring the Waters in the hollow of his Hand, meting out the Heavens with his Span, comprehending the Dust of the Earth ia a Measure, weighing the Mountains in Scales, and the Hills in a Ballance. Another of them describing the Supreme Being in this great Work of Creation, represents him as laying the Foundations of the Earth, and stretching a Line upon it And in another place as garnishing the Heavens, stretching out the North over the empty place, and hanging the Earth upon nothing. This last noble Thought Milton has express'd in the following Verse: And Earth felf-balanc'd on her Center hung.

The Beauties of Description in this Book lie so very thick, that it is impossible to enumerate them in this Paper. The Poet has employed on them the whole Energy of our Tongue. The several great Scenes of the Creation rife up to view one after another, in such a manner that the Reader seems present at this wondersul Work, and to assist among the Quires [Choirs] of Angels, who are the Spectators of it. How glorious is the Conclusion of the first Day.

Thus was the first day Ev'n and Morn.

Nor past uncelebrated, nor unfung

By the Celestial Quires, when Orient light

Exhaling first from Darkness they beheld;
Birth-day of Heav'n and Earth with joy and shout
The hollow universal Orb they fiWd.

We have the same elevation of Thought in the third Day; when the Mountains were brought forth, and the Deep was made.

Immediately the mountains huge appear
Emergent, and their broad bare backs up heave
Into the Clouds, their tops ascend the Sky.
So high as heav'd the tumid hills, so low
Down funk a hollow bottom broad and deep,
Capacious bed of Waters

We have also the rising of the whole vegetable World described in this Day's Work, which is filled with all the Graces that other Poets have lavished on their Descriptions of the Spring, and leads the Reader's Imagination into a Theatre equally surprizing and beautisul.

The several Glories of the Heav'ns make their appearance or. the Fourth Day.

First in his East the glorious lamp was seen

Regent of day, and all th' Horizon round

Invested with bright rays,jocond to run

His Longitude through Heav' ns high rode: the Gray

Dawn, and the Pleiades before him danced

Shedding sweet influence: less bright the moon,

But opposite in levelsd West tvas set,

His Mirror, with fullface borrowing her light

From him, for other light she needed none

In that afpecl, andstill that distance keeps

Till night; then in the East her turn she shines

Fevolv'd on Heav'ns great Axle, and her reign

With thousand leffer lights dividual holds,

With thousand thousand stars, that then appear'd

Spangling the Hemisphere

One would wonder how the Poet could be so concise in his Description of the Six Days Works, as to comprehend them within the bounds of an Episode, and at the fame time so particular, as to give us a lively Idea of them. This is still more remarkable in his Account of the Fifth and Sixth Day[s], in which he has drawn out to our view the whole Animal Creation, from the Reptil to the Behemoth. As the Lion and the Leviathan are two of the noblest Productions in this World of living Creatures, the Reader will find a most exquisite Spirit of Poetry, in the Account which our Author gives us of them. The Sixth Day concludes with the Formation of Man, upon which the Angel takes occasion, as he did after the Battel in Heaven, to remind Adam of his Obedience, which was the principal Design of this his Visit .

The Poet afterwards represents the Messiah returning into Heaven, and taking a Survey of his great Work. There is something inexpressibly Sublime in this Part of the Poem, where the Author describes that great Period of Time, fill'd with so many Glorious Circumstances; when the Heavens and the Earth were finished; when the Messiah ascended up in Triumph through the Everlasting Gates; when he look'd down with pleasure upon his new Creation; when every Part of Nature seemed to rejoice in its Existence; when the Morning Stars fang together, and all the Sons of God ssiouted for Joy.

So Ev'n and Morn accomplish'd the Sixth day:
Yet not till the Creator from his Work
Desisting, tho' unwearied, up return'd,
Up to the Heav'n of Heav'ns his high abode,
Thence to behold this new created world
TK addition of his empire; how it shew'd
In prof peel from his throne, how good, how fair
Anfwering his great Idea. Up he rode
Follow'd with acclamation and the Sound
Symphonious of ten thoufand harps that tun'd
Angelic Harmonies: the earth, the air
Refounded, {thou remember'st for thou heardst)
The Heavens and all the Constellations rung,
The Planets in their Station list'ning stood,
While the bright pomp ascended jubilant.
Open, ye everlasting gates, they fung,
Open, ye Heav'ns, your living doors, let in
The great Creator from his work returnd
Magnificent, his fix days work, a World.

I cannot conclude this Book upon the Creation, without mentioning, a Poem which has lately appeared under that Title. The Work was undertaken with so good an Intention, and is executed with so great a Mastery, that it deserves to be looked upon as one of the most usesul and noble Productions in our English Verse. The Reader cannot but be pleased to find the Depths of Philosophy enlivened with all the Charms of Poetry, and to fee so great a Strength of Reason, amidst so beautisul a Redundancy of [the] Imagination. The Author has shewn us that Design in all the Works of Nature, which necessarily leads us to the Knowledge of its first Cause. In short, he has illustrated, by numberless and incontestable Instances, that Divine Wisdom, which the Son of Sirach has so nobly ascribed to the Supreme Being in his Formation of the World, when he tells us, that He created her, and saw her, and numbered her, and poured her out upon all his Works.\

t In the advertisements immediately under this paragraph in the Original issue is the following

Lately Published,

Creation. A Philosophical Poem. Demonstrating the Existence and Providence ofa God. In Seven Books. Bjr Sir Richard Blackmore,Knt.f M.D., and Fellow of the College of Physicians in London, &c. &c

[graphic]
« PoprzedniaDalej »