Obrazy na stronie

—^——Then shall this mount

Of Paradije by might of Waves be moved

Out of his place, pustid by the horned flood,

With all his verdure fpoird, and trees a drift

Down the great river to the op'ning Gulf,

And there take root an Islandfait and bare,

The haunt of Seals and Ores, and Sea-Mews clang:

The Transition which the Poet makes from the Vision of the Deluge, to the Concern it occasioned in Adam, is exquisitely gracesul, and copied after Virgil, tho' the first Thought it introduces is rather in the Spirit of Ovid.

How didst thou grieve, then, Adam, to behold
The end of all thy Off-spring, end so fad,
Depopulation; thee another floud,
Of tears and sorrow, a floud thee also drown'dt
And funk thee as thy Sons: 'till gently rear'd
By th' Angel, on thy feet thou stoodfl at last,
Though comfortless, as when a father mourns
His Children, all in view destroy'd at once.

I have been the more particular in my Quotations out of the Eleventh Book of Paradise Lost, because it is not generally reckoned among the most shining Books of this Poem. For which reason, the Reader might be apt to overlook those many Passages in it, which deserve our Admiration. The Eleventh and Twelfth are indeed built upon that single Circumstance of the Removal of our first Parents from Paradise; but tho' this is not in it self so great a Subject as that in most of the foregoing Books, it is extended and diversified with so many surprizing Incidents and pleasing Episodes, that these two last Books can by no means be looked upon as unequal Parts of this divine Poem. I must surther add, that had not Milton represented our first Parents as driven out of Paradise, his Fall of Man would not have been compleat, and consequently his Action would have been imperfect.


Segniils irritant animos demiffa per aures

Quam quœ funt oculis fubjefta fidelibus Hor.

{ What we hear moves less than what we fee.


Saturday, May, 3. 1712.

ILTON, after having represented in Vision the History of Mankind to the First great Period of Nature, dispatches the remaining Part of it in Narration. He has devised a very handsome Reason for the Angel's proceeding with Adam after thh manner; tho' doubtless, the true Reason was the difficulty which the Poet would have found to have shadowed out so mixt and complicated, a Story in visible Objects. I could wish, however, that the Author had done it, whatever Pains it might have cost him. To give my Opinion freely, I think that the exhibiting Part of the History of Mankind in Vision, and part in Narrative, is as if an History Painter should put in Colours one half of his Subject, and write down the remaining part of it. If Milton % Poem flags any where, it is in this Narration,where in some places theAuthor has been so attentive to his Divinity, that he has neglected his Poetry. The Narration, however, rises very happily on several Occasions, where the Subject is capable of Poetical Ornaments, as particularly in the Consusion which he describes among the Builders of Babel, and in his short Sketch of the Plagues of Egypt. The Storm of Hail and Fire, with the Darkness that overspread the Land for three Days, are described with great Strength. The beautisul Passage, which follows, is raised upon noble Hints in Scripture.


Thus with ten wounds

The River-Dragon tam'd at length submits
To let his Sojourners depart, and oft
Humbles his stubborn heart, but still as Ice
More harden'd after thaw, till in his rage
Pursuing whom he late dismiss'd, the Sea
Swallows him with his host, but tJiem lets pass
As on dry land between two Chryjlal walls,
Aw'd by the rod of Moses so to stand

The River-Dragon is an Allusion to the Crocodile, which inhabits the Nile, from whence Egypt derives her Plenty. This Allusion is taken from that Sublime Passage in Ezekiel. Thus saith the Lord God, behold, 2 am against thee Pharaoh King of Egypt, the great Dragon that lieth in the midst of his Rivers, which hath said, My River is mine own, and I have made it for my self Milton has given us another very noble and Poetical Image in the same Description, which is copied almost Word for Word out of the History of Moses. All night he will pursue, but his approach Darkness defends between till morning watch; Then through the fiery pillar and the cloud God looking forth, will trouble all his hoast, And craze their Chariot Wheels : when by command Moses once more his potent Rod extends Over the Sea; the Sea his Rod obeys; On their Embatelled ranks the waves return And overwhelm their War:

As the Principal Design of this Episode was to give Adam an Idea of the Holy Person, who was to reinstate Human Nature in that Happiness and Persection from which it had sallen, the Poet confines himself to the Line of Abraham, from whence the Messiah was to Descend. The Angel is described as seeing the Patriarch actually travelling towards the Land of Promise, which gives a particular Liveliness to this part of the Narration.

I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith

He kaves his Gods, his Friends, and [his] native Soil
Ur^/Chaldæa, passing now the Ford
To Haran, after him a cumbrous train
Of Herds and slocks, and numerous fervitude;
Not wanderingpoor, but trusting all his wealth
With God, who call'd him, in a Land unknown.
Canaan he now attains; I fee his tents
PitcKt about Sechem, and the neighbouring plain
Of Moreh, there by promife he receives
Gift to his Progeny of all that Land;
From Hamath Northward to the Defart South;
(Things by their names I call, though yet unnam'd.)

As Virgil's Vision in the Sixth Æneid probably gave Milton the Hint of this whole Epifode, the last Line is a Translation of that Verse, where Anchifes mentions the Names of Places, which they were to bear hereafter.

Hæc tum nomina erunt, nunc funt fine nomine terræ.

The Poet has very finely represented the Joy and Gladness of Heart, which rises in Adam upon his Discovery of the Messiah. As he fees his Day at a distance through Types and Shadows,he rejoices in it; but when he finds the Redemption of Man compleated, and Paradife again renewed, he breaks forth in Rapture and Transport,

0 goodnefs infinite, goodnefs immenfe I That all this good of evil shall produce. &c.

1 have hinted, in my Sixth Paper on Milton, that an Heroic Poem, according to the Opinion of the best Criticks, ought to end happily, and leave the Mind of the Reader, aster having conducted it through many Doubts and Fears, Sorrows and Disquietudes, in a state of Tranquillity and Satisfaction. Milton's Fable, which had so many other Qualifications to recommend it, was deficient in this Particular. It is here therefore, that the Poet has shewn a most exquisite Judgment, as well as the finest Invention, by finding out a Method to supply this Natural Defect in his Subject. Accordingly he leaves the Adverfary of Mankind, in the last View which he gives us of him, under the lowest State of Mortification and Disappointment. We see him chewing Ashes, grovelling in the Dust, and loaden with Supernumerary Pains and Torments. On the contrary, our two first Parents are comforted by Dreams and Visions, cheared with Promises of Salvation, and, in a manner, raised to a greater Happiness than that which they had forseited : In short, Satan is represented miserable in the height of his Triumphs, and Adam triumphant in the height of Misery.

Milton's Poem ends very nobly. The last Speeches of Adam and the Arch-angel are sull of Moral and Instructive Sentiments. The Sleep that sell upon Eve, and the effects it had in quieting the Disorders of her Mind, produces the same kind of Consolation in the Reader, who cannot peruse the last beautisul Speech which is ascrib'd to the Mother of Mankind, without a secret Pleasure and Satissaction.

Whence thou return st, and whither wenfst, I know;
For God is also in Sleep, and dreams advise,
Which he hath sent propitious, some great good
Presaging, since with Sorrow and Hearts distress
Wearied I fell asleep: but now lead on;
In me is no delay: with thee to go
Is to stay here; without thee here to stay
Is to go hence unwilling; thou to me
Art all things under Heav'n, all places thou
Who for my wilful crime art banistid hence.
This further Consolation yet secure
I carry hence; though all by me is lost
Such favour, I unworthy, am vouchsaf'd,
By me the promis'd Seedshall all restore.

The following Lines which conclude the Poem rife in a most glorious blaze of Poetical Images and Expressions.

Heliodorus in his Æthiopicks acquaints us that the Motion of the Gods differs from that of Mortals, as the former do not stir their Feet, nor proceed Step by Step, but Aide o'er the Surface of the Earth by an

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