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can scarce forbear sancying himself employ'd on the same distant view os it .

Look downward on that Globe, whose hither fide
With light from hence, tho' but resetted, shines;
That place is Earth, the Seat of man, that light
His day, &c.

I must not conclude my Reflections upon this Third Book of Paradise Lost, without taking notice of that celebrated Complaint of Milton with which it opens, and which certainly deserves all the Praises that have been given it; tho' as I have before hinted, it may rather be looked upon as an Excrescence, than as an essential Part of the Poem. The same Observation might be applied to that beautisul Digression upon Hypocrisie, in the same Book.



JVecfatis estpulchra effepoemata, dulcia funto. Hor.

{'Tis not enough a Poem's finely writ;
It must affecl and captivate the Soul. }

Saturday, March 8. 1712.


[HOSE, who know how many Volumes have been written on the Poems of Homer and Virgil, will easily pardon the Length of my Discourse upon Milton. The Paradife Lost is look'd upon, by the best Judges, as the greatest Production, or at least the noblest Work of Genius, in our Language, and therefore deserves to be set before an English Reader in its sull Beauty. For this Reason, tho' I have endeavoured to give a general Idea of its Graces and Imperfections in my Six First Papers I thought myself obliged to bestow one upon every Book in particular. The Three First Books I have already dispatched, and am now entring upon the Fourth. I need not acquaint my Reader, that there are Multitudes of Beauties in this great Author, especially in the Descriptive Parts of his Poem, which I have not touched upon, it being my Intention to point out those only, which appear to me the most exquisite, or those which are not so obvious to ordinary Readers. Every one that has read the Criticks, who have written upon the Odyssey, the Iliad and the Æneid, knows very well, that though they agree in their Opinions of the great Beauties in those Poems, they have nevertheless each of them discovered several Master-Stroaks, which have escaped the Observation of the rest. In the fame manner, I question not, but any Writer, who shall treat of this Subject after me, may find several Beauties in Milton, which I have not taken notice of. I must likewise observe, that as the greatest Masters of Critical Learning differ from one another, as to some particular Points in an Epic Poem, I have not bound my self scrupulously to the Rules, which any one of them has laid down upon that Art, but have taken the Liberty sometimes to join with one, and sometimes with another, and sometimes to differ from all of them, when I have thought that the Reason of the thing was on my side.

We may consider the Beauties of the Fourth Book under three Heads. In the First are those Pictures of Still-Life,which we meet with in the Descriptions of Eden, Paradise, Adam's Bower, &*c. In the next are the Machines, which comprehend the Speeches and Behaviour of the good and bad Angels. In the last is the Conduct of Adam smdEve, who are the principal Actors in the Poem.

In the Description of Paradife, the Poet has observed Ari/Iof/e's Rule of lavishing all the Ornaments of Diction on the weak unactive Parts of the Fable, which are not supported by the Beauty of Sentiments and Characters. Accordingly the Reader may observe, that the Expressions are more florid and elaborate in these Descriptions, than in most other Parts of the Poem. I must further add, that tho' the Drawings of Gardens, Rivers, Rainbows, and the like dead Pieces of Nature, are justly censured in an Heroic Poem, when they run out into an unnecessary length; the Description of Paradife would have been faulty, had not the Poet been very particular in it, not only as it is the Scene of the principal Action, but as it is requisite to give us an Idea of that Happiness from which our first Parents felL The Plan of it is wondersully beautisul, and formed upon the short Sketch which we have of it, in Holy Writ. Milton's Exuberance of Imagination, has pour'd forth such a redundancy of Ornaments on this Seat of Happiness and Innocence, that it would be endless to point out each Particular.

I must not quit this Head, without surther observing, that there is scarce a Speech of Adam or Eve in the whole Poem, wherein the Sentiments and Allusions are not taken from this their delightsul Habitation. The Reader, during their whole Course os Action, always finds himself in the Walks of Paradije. In short, as the Criticks have remarked, that in those Poems, wherein Shepherds are Actors, the Thoughts ought always to take a Tincture from the Woods, Fields, and Rivers; so we may observe, that our first Parents seldom lose Sight of their happy Station in any thing they speak or do; and, if the Reader will give me leave to use the Expression, that their Thoughts are always Paradisiacal.

We are in the next place to consider the Machines of the Fourth Book. Satan being now within Prospect of Eden, and looking round upon the Glories of the Creation, is filled with Sentiments different from those which he discovered whilst he was in Hell. The Place inspires him with Thoughts more adapted to it: He reflects upon the happy Condition from whence he fell, and breaks forth into a Speech that is foftned with several transient Touches of Remorse and Selfaccusation : But at length he confirms himself in Impenitence, and in his design of drawing Man into his own State of Guilt and Misery. This Conflict of Passions is raised with a great deal of Art, as the opening of his Speech to the Sun is very bold and noble.

O thou that with furpassing Glory crown'd
Look'flfrom thy Sole Dominion like the God
Of this new World, at whofe Sight all the Stars
Hide their diminish'd heads, to thee I call
But with no Friendly Voice, and add thy name,
O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams
That bring to my remembrance from what State
I J fell, how glorious once above thy Sphere.

This Speech is, I think, the finest that is ascribed to Satan in the whole Poem. The Evil Spirit afterwards proceeds to make his Discoveries concerning our first Parents, and to learn after what manner they may be best attacked. His bounding over the Walls of Paradise; his sitting in the Shape of a Cormorant upon the Tree of Lise, which stood in the Center of it, and over-topp'd all the other Trees of the Garden; his alighting among the Herd of Animals, which are so beautisully represented as playing about Adam and Eve, together with his transforming himself into difserent Shapes, in order to hear their Conversation; are Circumstances that give an agreeable Surprize to the Reader, and are devised with great Art, to connect that Series of Adventures in which the Poet has engaged this great Artificer of Fraud.

[The Thought of Satan's Transformation into a Cormorant, and placing himself on the Tree of Lise, seems raised upon that Passage in the Iliad, where two Deities are described, as perching on the Top of an Oak in the Shape of Vulturs.]

His planting himself at the Ear of Eve in the shape [under the Form] of a Toad, in order to produce vain Dreams and Imaginations, is a Circumstance of the same Nature; as his starting up in his own Form is wondersully fine, both in the Literal Description, and in the Moral which is concealed under it. His Answer upon his being discovered, and demanded to give an Account of himself, are [is] conformable to the Pride and Intrepidity of his Character.

Know ye not then, said Satan, fiWd with Scorn,
Know ye not me 1 ye knew me once no mate
For you, fitting where you durst not soare;
Not to know me argues your-selves unknown,
The lowest os your throng;

Zephon's Rebuke, with the Influence it had on Satan, is exquisitely Gracesul and Moral. Satan is afterwards led away to Gabriel, the chief of the Guardian Angels, who kept watch in Paradise. His disdainsul Behaviour on this occasion is so remarkable a Beauty, that the most ordinary Reader cannot but take notice of it.

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