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nature is darkened, that this glorious machine may appear in all its lustre and magnificence.
Why in the east
Darkness e'er day's mid-course, and morning light
I need not observe how properly this author, who always suits his parts to the actors whom he introduces, has employed Michael in the expulsion of our first parents from Paradise. The archangel on this occasion neither appears in his proper shape, nor in that familiar manner with which Raphael, the sociable spirit, entertained the father of mankind before the fall. His person, his port, and behaviour, are suitable to a spirit of the highest rank, and exquisitely described in the following passage:
-Th' archangel soon drew nigh,
Eve's complaint, upon hearing that she was to be removed from the garden of Paradise, is wonderfully beautiful: the sentiments are not only proper to the subject, but have something in them particularly soft and womanish.
Must I thus leave thee, Paradise? thus leave
1. That never will in other climate
Adam's speech abounds with thoughts which are equally moving, but of a more masculine, and elevated turn, Nothing can be conceived more sublime and poetical than the following passage in
This most afflicts me, that departing hence,
Of grassy turf, and pile up every stone Of lustre from the brook, in memory,oq sdt and p Or monument to ages, and thereon, Offer sweet smelling gums, and fruits, and flowers, flowers In yonder nether world where shall I seek His bright appearances, or foot-steps trace For though I fled him angry, yet recall'da To life prolong'd and promis'd race, I now Gladly behold though but his utmost skirts.A Of glory, and far off his steps adorefab fod maz The angel afterwards leads, Adam to the highest mount of Paradise, and lays before him a whole hemisphere, as a proper stage for those visións which
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were to be represented on it. I have before observed, how the plan of Milton's poem is in many particulars greater than that of the Iliad or Eneid. Virgil's hero, in the last of these poems, is entertained with a sight of all those who are to descend from him; but though that episode is justly admired as one of the noblest designs in the whole Eneid, every one must allow that this of Milton is of a much higher Adam's vision is not confined to any particular tribe of mankind, but extends to the whole species.
In this great review which Adam takes of all his sons and daughters, the first objects he is presented with exhibit to him the story of Cain and Abel, which is drawn together with much closeness and propriety of expression. That curiosity and natural horror which arise in Adam at the sight of the first dying man, is touched with great beauty.
But have I now seen death? is this the way
Of terror, foul and ugly to behold,
The second vision sets before him the image of death in a great variety of appearances. The angel, to give him a general idea of those effects which his guilt had brought upon his posterity, places before him a large hospital, or lazer-house, filled with persons lying under all kinds of mortal diseases. How finely has the poet told us that the sick persons languished under lingering and incurable distempers, by an apt and judicious use of such imaginary beings as those I mentioned in my last
Dire was the tossing, deep the groans; Despair
The passion which likewise rises in Adam on this occasion is very natural.
Sight so deform what heart of rock could long
The discourse between the angel and Adam which follows, abounds with noble morals.
As there is nothing more delightful in poetry, than a contrast and opposition of incidents, the author, after this melancholy prospect of death and sickness, raises up a scene of mirth, love, and jollity. The secret pleasure that steals into Adam's heart, as he is intent upon this vision, is imagined with great delicacy. I must not omit the description of the loose female troop, who seduced the sons of God, as they are called in scripture.
For that fair female troop thou saw'st, that seem'd
The next vision is of a quite contrary nature, and filled with the horrors of war. Adam at the sight of it melts into tears, and breaks out in that passionate speech,
O what are these,
Death's ministers, not men, who thus deal death
Ten thousandfold the sin of him who slew
His brother; for of whom such massacre
Milton, to keep up an agreeable variety in his visions, after having raised in the mind of his reader,
the several ideas of terror which are conformable to the description of war, passes on to those softer images of triumphs and festivals, in that vision of lewdness and luxury which ushers in the flood.
As it is visible that the poet had his eye upon Ovid's account of the universal deluge, the reader may observe with how much judgment he has avoided every thing that is redundant or puerile in the Latin poet. We do not here see the wolf swimming among the sheep, nor any of those wanton imaginations, which Seneca found fault with, as unbecom
ing the great catastrophe of nature. If our poet
has imitated that verse in which Ovid tells us that there was nothing but sea, and that this sea had no shore to it, he has not set the thought in such a light as to incur the censure which critics have passed upon it. The latter part of that verse in Ovid is idle and superfluous, but just and beautiful in Milton.
Jamque mare et tellus nullum discrimen habebant,
Sea without shore.
-Sea cover'd sea,
In Milton the former part of the description does not forestal the latter. How much more great and solemn on this occasion is that which follows in our English poet,
-And in their palaces,
Where luxury late reign'd, sea-monsters whelp'd
than that in Ovid, where we are told that the seacalves lay in those places where the goats were used to browse! The reader may find several other parallel passages in the Latin and English description of the deluge, wherein our poet has visibly the advantage, The sky's being over-charged with clouds, the de