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lian /serve. And as Taste gave to a Prince of Italy his chois whether h« would command him to write of Godfreys expedition against the infidels, or Belisarius against the Gothet, or Charlemain against the Lombards; if to the instinct of nature and the jmboldning of art ought may be trusted, and that there be nothing advers in our climat, or the fate of this age, it haply would be no rashnesse from an equal diligence and inclination to present the like offer in our own ancient stories. Or whether those Dramatick constitutions, wherein Soptwcles and Euripides raigne shall be found more doctrinal and exemplary to a Nation, the Scripture also affords us a divine pastoral Drama in the Song of Salomon consisting of two persons and a double Chorus, as Origen rightly judges. And the Apocalyps of Saint lohn is the majestick image of a high and stately Tragedy, shutting up and intermingling her solemn Scenes and Acts with a sevenfold Chorus of halleluja's and harping symphonies : and this my opinion the grave autority of Pareus commenting that booke is sufficient to confirm. Or if occasion shall lead to imitat those magnifick Odes and Hymns wherein Pindarus and Callimachus are in most things worthy, some others in their frame judicious, in their matter most an end faulty: But those frequent songs throughout the lawand prophets beyond all these, not in their divine argument alone, but in the very critical art of composition may be easily made appear over all kinds of Lyrick poesy, to be incomparable. These abilities, wheresoever they be found, are the inspired guift of God rarely bestow'd, but yet to some (though most abuse) in every Nation: and are of power beside the office of a pulpit, to inbreed and cherish in a great people the seeds of vertu, and publics civility, to allay the pertubations of the mind, and set the affections in right tune, to celebrate in glorious and lofty Hymns the throne and equipage of Gods Almightinesse, and what he works, and what he suffers to be wrought with high providence in his Church, to sing the victorious agonies of Martyrs and Saints, the deeds and triumphs of just and pious Nations doing valiantly through faith against the enemies of Christ, to deplore the general relapses of Kingdoms and States from justice and Gods true worship. Lastly, whatsoever in religion is holy and sublime, in vertu aimable, or grave, whatsoever hath passion or admiration in all the changes of that which is call'd fortune from without, or the wily suttleties and refluxes of mans thoughts from within, all these things with a solid and treatable smoothnesse to paint out and describe. Teaching over the whole book of sanctity and vertu through all the instances of example with such delight to those especially of soft and delicious temper who will not so much as look upon Truth herselfe, unlesse they see her elegantly drest, that whereas the paths of honesty and good life appear now rugged and difficult, though they be indeed easy and pleasant, they would then appeare to all men both easy_ and pleasant though they were rugged and difficult indeed. . . . The thing which I had to say, and those intentions which have hVd within me ever since I could conceiv my self any thing worth to my Countrie, I return to crave excuse that urgent reason hath pluckt from me by an abortive and foredated discovery. And the accomplishment of them lies not but in a power above mans to promise ; but that none hath by more studious ways endeavour*d, and with more unwearied spirit that none shall, that I dare almost averre of my self, as farre as life and free leasure wilt extend, and that the Land had once infrartchis'd her self from this impertinent yoke of prelatry, under whose inquisitorious and tyrannical duncery no free and splendid wit can flourish. Neither doe I think it shame to covnant with any knowing reader, that for some few yeers yet I may go on trust with him toward the payment of what I am now indebted, as being a work not to be rays'd from the heat of youth, or the vapours of wine, like that which flows at wast from the pen of some vulgar Amorist, or the trencher fury of a riming parasite, not to be obtain* d by the invocation of Dame Memory and her Siren daughters, but by devout prayer to that eternall Spirit who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his Seraphim with the hallow'd fire of his Altar to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases: to this must be added industrious and select reading, steddy observation, insight into all seemly and generous arts and affaires, till which in some measure be compast, at mine own peril and cost I refuse not to sustain this expectation from as many as are not loath to hazard so much credulity upon the best pledges that I can give them.—37—41. Ed. 1641.

Criticism on 'Paradise Lost.'


PN the ordinary course of writing for The Speclator, Addison determined upon a summary exposition of Paradise Loft; intending in some four or half a dozen papers, 'to give a general Idea of its Graces and Impersections.' Though his subject was a recent masterwork, it was then comparatively unknown and certainly inadequately appreciated. Addison's purpose was to make Milton's great Epic popular. His sense of the indifference and prejudices to be overcome, may be gathered, not only from his, at first, guarded and argued praise of Milton; his large comparative criticism of Homer and Virgil, as if to make Milton the more acceptable ; but also from his announcement, see page 25 : where, under the cover of a Commentary on the great and acceptedly-great name of Aristotle, he endeavours to get a hearing for the unknown Milton.

In accordance with this intention, at the close of his sixth paper,t Addison announces the termination of the criticism on the following Saturday. Theessays, however, had met withan unexpected success. So that their author —the subject growing easily under his hand—was induced, instead of offering samples of the Beauties of the poem, in one essay, to give a separate paper to those in each of the twelve books of Paradise Lost. His caution however prevented him even then, from announcing his fresh purpose, until he was well on in his work; entering upon the consideration of the Fourth Book.§

These conditions of production not only show the tentativeness of the criticism, but account in part for the treatment of the subject. In particular, for the repetition in expanded form in its later essays, of arguments, opinions, &c, epitomized in the earlier + P- 49- § p- 7*


ones. As, for instance; the impropriety of Allegory in Epic poetry.

Before the appearanceof thelast ofthe Milton papers, Volume IV. of the second (first collected) edition of The Spectator, which included the first ten essays, had probably been delivered to its subscribers. The text of this edition shows considerable additions and corrections. So that Addison was revising the earlier, possibly before he had written the later of these papers. The eight last papers formed part of Volume V. ofthe second edition, which was published in the following year, 1713.

Subsequently—in the Author's lisetime—at least one important addition was made to the texts; but the scarcity of early editions of The Spectator has prevented any further collation. In this way the growing text grew into final form: that in which it has come down to us.

In the present work, the text is that of the original issue, in folio. The variations and additions of the second edition, in 8vo, are inserted between [ ]. Words in the first, omitted in the second edition are distinguished by having * affixed to them. Subsequent additions are inserted between { }; which also contain the English translations of the mottoes. These have been verified with those in the earliest edition in which I have found them, that of 1744. The reader can therefore watch not only the expansion of the criticism, but Addison's method of correcting his work.

These papers do not embody the writer's entire mind on the subject. Limited as he was in time, to a week; in space, to the three or four columns of the Saturday folio: he was still more limited by the capacity, taste, and patience of his readers. Addison shows not a little art in the way in which, meting out his thought with the measure of his readers' minds, he endeavours rather to awaken them from indifference than to express his complete observations. The whole four months' lesson + pp- 54. w

incriticism mustbe apprehended, as much with reserence to those he was teaching to discriminate and appreciate, as to the settered expression of the critic's own opinion.

The accepted standards in Epic poetry were Homer and Virgil. All that Addison tries to do is to persuade his countrymen to put Milton by their side.

Paganism could not furnish out a real Action for a Fable greater than that of the Iliad or Æneid, and therefore an Heathen could not form a higher Notion of a Poem than one of that kind, which they call an Heroic. Whether Milton's is not of a sublimer Nature I will not presume to determine, it is sufficient that I shew there is in Paradise Lost all the Greatness of Plan, Regularity of Design, and masterly Beauties which we discover in Homer and Virgil, f

Possibly it is owing to the then absence of an equal acknowledgment in England of Dante, Addison's consequent limitation of purpose, and the conditions of the production of this criticism, that there is no recognition therein of the great Italian Epic poet.

These papers constitute a Primer to Paradise Lost. Most skilsully constructed both to interest and instruct, but still a Primer. As the excellent setting may the better display the gem of incalculable value: so may Addison's thought help us to understand Milton's 'greatness of Soul, which surnished him with such glorious Conceptions.' Let us not stop at the Primer, but pass on to a personal apprehension of the great English Epic; in the persuasion, that in no speech under heaven, is there a poem of more Sublimity, Delight, and Instruction than that which Milton was maturing for a quarter of a century: and that there is nothing human more wonderful and at the same time more true, than those visions of 'the whole System of the intellectual World, the Chaos and the Creation; Heaven, Earth, and Hell' over which—in the deep darkness of his blindness—Milton's spirit so long brooded, and which at length he revealed to Earth in his astonishing Poem.

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* Editions not s

The various editions of The Spectator are omitted, for want of space, because the scarcity of its early issues, prevents an exact list being gives. See note on the three earliest issues, at p. to.

(a) issues In the author's lifetime.
I. At a separate publication.

1719. London. Notes on the Twelve Books of Paradise Lost, Col

1 vol. iamo. lected from the Spectator. Written by Mr.Addison.

(b) issues since the author's Death.

I. As a separate publication.

1 Aug. London. English Reprints; see title at p. 1.

18O8. 1 vol. 8vo.

II. With other works.

1721. London. Addison's works [Ed: with Life by T. Tickell.] The

4 vols. 4to. criticism occupies iii. 208-382. 1761. Birmingham. Basherville edition. Addison's works. The criticism

4 vols. 4to. occupies iii. 246-355. 1762. London. A familiar Exposition of the Poetical Works of

1 vol. 8vo. Milton. To which is prefixed Mr. Addison's Criticism

on 'Paradise Lost-' With a preface by the Rev. Mr. Dodd. The criticism occupies pp. 1—144. •1790. Edinburgh. Papers in the Tatler, Spectator, Guardian, and Free4 vols. Svo. holder, together with his Treatise on the Christian Religion, &c. Watt.

1801, London. The Poetical works of John Milton. Ed. by Rev.

6 vols. 8vo. H. J. Todd, M.A. The criticism occupies i. 24-194. 1804. London. Selections from the Spectator, Tatler, Guardian, and

3 vols- 8vo. Freeholder. With a preliminary Essay by Anna Lætitia Barbaultj. The criticism occupies ii. 38—170. 1804. London. Addison's works. Collected by Mr. Tickell. The

6 vols. 8vo# criticism occupies ii. 83-221. 1811. London. Addison's works. With notes by Bp. Hurd. The

6 vols. 8vo. criticism occupies iv. 78-aoS.

1819. London. Second edition of No. o. The criticism occupies L

7 vols. 8vo. 1-153.

1826. London. Third edition of No. 6. The criticism, without quota

0 vols. 8vo. tions, occupies ii. vii.-xcviii. 1849. London. A new edition of No. 7. The criticism occupies

2 vols. Svo. ii. 169—184.

1856. New York. Addison's works. Ed.by G.W.GltBENB. The criticism

6 vols. 8vo. occupies vi 24-168. 1856. London. Bonn's British Classics. Addison's works. A n

b vols. 8vo. edition of No. 9. The criticism occupies iii. 170-283

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