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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
Silence, ye troubled waves, and thou Deep, Peace, Said then th' Omnific word, your Discord end:
Nor staid, but on the wings of Cherubim
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;
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
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:
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
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