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meet in Council. His Speech in this Book is every way [where] suitable to so depraved a Charaćter. How proper is that Refle&tion, of their being unable to taste the Happiness of Heaven were they ačtually there, in the Mouth of one, who while he was in Heaven, is said to have had his Mind dazled with the outward Pomps and Glories of the Place, and to have been more intent on the Riches of the Pavement, than on the Beatifick Vision. I shall also leave the Reader to judge how agreeable the following Sentiments are to the same Character.
The Reader may observe how just it was, not to omit in the First Book the Projećt upon which the whole Poem turns : As also that the Prince of the fall'n Angels was the only proper Person to give it Birth, and that the next to him in Dignity was the fittest to second and support it. There is besides, I think, something wonderfully beautiful, and very apt to affect the Reader's Imagination, in this ancient Prophecy or Reportin Heaven, concerning the Creatiqn of Man. Nothing could shew more the Dignity of the Species, than this Tradition which ran of them before their Existence. They are represented to have been the Talk of Heaven, before they were created. Virgil, in compliment to the Acoman Common-Wealth, makes the Heroes of it appear in their State of Pre-existence; But Milton does a far greater Honour to Mankind in general, as he gives us a Glimpse of them even before they are in Being.
The Diversions of the fallen Angels, with the particular Account of their Place of Habitation, are described with great Pregnancy of Thought, and Copious. ness of Invention. The Diversions are every way suitable to Beings who had nothing left them but Strength and Knowledge misapplied. Such are their Contentions at the Race, and in Feats of Arms, with their Entertainment in the following Lines.
This Episode of the fallen Spirits, and their Place of Habitation, cones in very happily to unbend the Mind of the Reader from its Attention to the Debate. An ordinary Poet would indeed have spun out so many