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Santlius his animal, mentifque capacius altœ
Deerat adhuc, et quod dominari in cætera posset.

Natus homo est Ov. Met.

{A Creature of a more exalted kind
Was wanting yet, and then was Man defgn'd;
Conscious of Thought, of more capacious Breasi,
For Empireform'd, andfit to rule the rest. Diyden.}

Saturday, April 5, 1712.

HE Accounts which Raphael gives of the Battel of Angels, and the Creation of the World, have in them those Qualifications which the Criticks judge requisite to an Episode. They are nearly related to the principal Action, and have a just Connection with the Fable.

The Eighth Book opens with a beautiful Description of the Impression which this Discourse of the Archangel made on our first Parent . Adam afterwards, by a very natural Curiosity, enquires -concerning the Motions of those Celestial Bodies which make the most glorious Appearance among the six Days Works. The Poet here, with a great deal of Art, represents Eve as withdrawing from this part of their Conversation to Amusements that seem more suitable to her Sex. He well knew, that the Episode in this Book, which is filled with Adam's Account of his Passion and Esteem for Eve, would have been improper for her hearing, and has therefore devised very just and beautisul Reasons for her Retiring.

So spake our Sire, and by his Countenance feem'd Entring on studious thoughts abstruse: which Eve Perceiving where she sat retired in sight, With lowliness Majestick from her Seat


And Grace that won who saw to wish her slay,
Rose, and went forth among her fruits andslowers
To visit how they prosper'd, bud and bloom,
Her Nursery; they at her coming sprung,
And toucht by her fair tendance gladlier grew.
Yet went she not, as not with such discourse
Delighted, or not capable her ear
Of what was high: Such pleasure she reservd
Adam relating, she sole Auditrefs;
Her Husband the relater she preferr'd
Before the Angel, and of him to ask
Chose rather: he, she knew, would intermix
Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute
With conjugal Careffes: from his Zip
Not words alone pleased her. O when meet now
Such pairs in Love, and mutual honour foin'd 1

The Angel's returning a doubtsul Answer to Adam's Enquiries, was not only proper for the Moral Reason which the Poet assigns, but because it would have been highly absurd to have given the Sanction of an Archangel to any particular System of Philosophy. The chief Points in the Ptolemaic and Copemican Hypothesis are described with great Conciseness and Perspicuity, and at the same time dressed in very pleasing and Poetical Images.

Adam, to detain the Angel, enters afterwards upon his own History, and relates to him the Circumstances in which he found himself upon his Creation; as also his Conversation with his Maker, and his first Meeting with Eve. There is no part of the Poem more apt to raise the attention of the Reader, than this Discourse of our great Ancestor; as nothing can be more surprizing and delightsul to us, than to hear the Sentiments that arose in the first Man while he was yet new and fresh from the hands of his Creator. The Poet has interwoven every thing which is delivered upon this Subject in Holy Writ with so many beautiful Imaginations of his own, that nothing can be conceived more just and natural than this whole Episode. As our Author knew this Subject could not but be agreeable to his Reader, he would not throw it into the relation of the six Days Works, but reserved it for a distinct Episode, that he might have an opportunity of expatiating upon it more at large. Before I enter on this part of the Poem, I cannot but take notice of two shining Passages in the Dialogue between Adam and the Angel. The first is that wherein our Ancestor gives an Account of the Pleasure he took in conversing with him, which contains a very noble Moral. For while I sit with thee, I seem in Heav'n, And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear Tlian fruits of Palm-tree pleasantest to thirst And hunger both, from labour, at the hour Os sweet repast; they satiate, and soon fill, 7ho' pleasant, but thy words with Grace divine Imbu'd, bring to their sweetness no satiety. The other I shall mention is that in which the Angel gives a reason why he should be glad to hear the Story Adam was about to relate. For I that day was absent, as befell, Bound on a Voyage uncouth and obscure, Far on excursion towards the Gates of Hell Squat'd in full Legion {such command we had) To fee that none thence iffuedforth a Spy, Or enemy, while God was in his work, Lest he incenst at such eruption bold, Deflrutlion with Creation might have mix'd. There is no question but our Poet drew the Image in what follows from that in Virgil's Sixth Book, where Æneas and the Sibyl stand before the Adamantine Gates which are there defcrib'd as shut upon the place of Torments, and listen to the Groans, the clank of Chains, and the noise of Iron Whips that were heard in those Regions of Pain and Sorrow.

Fast we found, fast shut

The dismal gates, and barricadoedflrong;

But long ter our approaching heard within Noise, other than the sound of Dance or Song, Torment, and loud lament, and furious rage. Adam then proceeds to give an Account of hi! Condition and Sentiments immediately after his Creation. How agreeably does he represent the posture in which he found himself, the beautisul Landskip that surrounded him, and the gladness of Heart which grew up in him on that occasion.

At new wakedfrom soundejlsleep Soft on thefiowry herb I found me laid In balmy sweat, which with his beams Jhe Sun Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed. Streight toward Heaifn my wondering eyes I turn d. And gaz'd a while the ample Sky, ''till raiid By quick inslinclive motion up I sprung As thitherward endeavouring, and upright Stood on my feet; about me round I saw Hill, Dale, and shady woods and funny plains, And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these Creatures that liv'd, and mov'd, and walKd, or sle w, Birds on the branches warbling; all things fmii'd: With fragrance, and with Joy my heart overflow'd.

Adam is afterwards described as furpriz'd at his own Existence, and taking a Survey of himself, and of all the Works of Nature. He likewise is represented as discovering by the Light of Reason, that he and every thing about him must have been the effect of some Being infinitely good and powersul and that this Being had a Right to his Worship and Adoration. His first address to the Sun, and to those parts of the Creation which made the most distinguished Figure, is very natural and amusing to the Imagination.

Thou Sun, said I, fair Light,

And thou enlight'ned earth, so fresli and gay,

Ye Hills and Dales, ye Rivers, Woods and Plains, And ye that live and move, fair creatures tell,

Tell if you saw, how came I thus, how herei

His next Sentiment, when upon his first going to Sleep he sancies himself losing his Existence, and salling away into nothing, can never be sufficiently admired. His Dream, in which he still preserves the Consciousness of his Existence, together with his removal into the Garden which was prepared for his Reception, are also Circumstances finely imagined, and grounded upon what is delivered in Sacred Story.

These and the like wondersul Incidents, in this Part of the Work, have in them all the Beauties of Novelty, at the same time that they have all the Graces of Nature. They are such as none but a great Genius could have thought of, though, upon the perusal of them, they seem to rise of themselves from the Subject of which he treats. In a Word, though they are natural they are not obvious, which is the true Character of all fine Writing.

The Impression which the Interdiction of the Tree of iife left in the Mind of our first Parent, is described '' with great Strength and Judgment, as the Image of the several Beasts and Birds pasting in review before him is very beautisul and lively.

Each Bird and Beast behold

Approaching two and two, these cowring low
With blandishment; each birdstoop'd on his Wing:
J nam'd them as they pass'd

Adam, in the next place, describes a Conserence which he held with his Maker upon the Subject of Solitude. The Poet here represents the Supreme Being, as making an Essay of his own Work, and putting to the tryal that reasoning Faculty, with which he had endued his Creature. Adam urges, in this divine Colloquy, the Impossibility of his being happy, tho' he was the Inhabitant of Paradise, and Lord of the whole Creation, without the Conversation and Society of seme rational Creature, who should partake those Blessings with him. This Dialogue, which is supported chiefly by the Beauty of the Thoughts, without other Poetical u

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