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"SATAN was now at hand, and from his seat
The monster moving onward came as fast
With horrid strides, Hell trembled as he strode;
Th' undaunted fiend what this might be admir'd,
Admird, not fear'd——”

The same boldness and intrepidity of behaviour discovers itself in the several adventures which he meets with, during his passage through the regions of unformed matter, and particularly in his address to those tremendous powers who are described as presiding over it.

The part of MOLOCH is likewise, in all its circumstances, full of that fire and fury, which distinguish this Spirit from the rest of the fallen angels. He is described in the first book as besmeared with the blood of human sacrifices, and delighted with the tears of parents and the cries of children. In the second book he is marked out as the fiercest Spirit that fought in Heaven : and if we consider the figure which he makes in the sixth book, where the battle of the angels is described, we find it every way answerable to the same furious, enraged character.

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-Where the might of GABRIEL fought,
And with fierce ensigns pierc'd the deep array
Of MOLOCH, furious king, who him defy'd,
And at his chariot-wheels to drag him bound
Threaten'd, nor from the Holy One of Heav'n
Refrain'd his tongue blasphemous: but anon
Down cloven to the waist, with shattered arms
And uncouth pain fled bellowing

It may be worth while to observe, that MILTON has represented this violent impetuous Spirit, who is hurried on by such precipitate passions, as the first that rises in that assembly, to give his opinion upon their present posture of affairs. Accordingly he declares himself abruptly for war, and appears incensed at his companions for losing so much time as even to deliberate upon it.All his sentiments are rash, audacious, and desperate.

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Such is that of arming themselves with their tortures, and turning their punishments upon him who inflicted them.

-No, let us rather choose,

Arm'd with hell flames and fury, all at once

O'er Heaven's high tow'rs to force resistless way,

Turning our tortures into horrid arms

Against the tort'rer; when to meet the noise

Of his almighty engine he shall hear

Infernal thunder, and for lightning see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among his angels; and his throne itself
Mixt with Tartarean sulphur, and strange fire,
His own invented torments.-

His preferring annihilation to shame or misery, is also highly suitable to his character; as the comfort he draws from their disturbing the peace of Heaven, that if it be not victory, it is revenge, is a sentiment truly diabolical, and becoming the bitterness of this implacable spirit.

BELIAL is described in the first book as the idol of the lewd and luxurious. He is in the second book, pursuant to that description, characterised as timorous and slothful; and if we look into the sixth book, we find him celebrated in the battle of angels for nothing but that scoffing speech which he makes to SATAN, on their supposed advantage over the enemy. As his appearance is uniform, and of a piece, in these three several views, we find his sentiments in the infernal assembly every way conformable to his character. Such are his appre hensions of a second battle, his horrors of annihilation, his preferring to be miserable rather than not to be. I need not observe, that the contrast of thought in this speech, and that which precedes it, gives an agreeable variety to the debate.

MAMMON's character is so fully drawn in the first book, that the poet adds nothing to it in the second. We were before told, that he was the first who taught

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mankind to ransack the earth for gold and silver, and that he was the architect of Pandaemoninm, or the infernal palace, where the evil spirits were to meet in council. His speech in this book is every way suitable to so depraved a character. How proper is that reflection, of their being unable to taste the happiness of Heaven. were they actually there, in the mouth of one, who, while he was in Heaven, is said to have had his mind dazzled with the outward pomps and glories of the place, and to have been more intent on the riches of the pavement, than on the beatific vision. I shall also leave the reader

to judge how agreeable the following sentiments are to the same character.

"This deep world

Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst

Thick cloud and dark doth heav'n's all-ruling Sire
Choose to reside, his glory unobscured,

And with the majesty of darkness round

Covers his throne; from whence deep thunders roar
Mustering their rage, and heav'n resembles hell!
As he our darkness, cannot we his light
Imitate when we please? This desart soil
Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold;

Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise
Magnificence; and what can Heav'n shew more?"

BEELZEBUB, who is reckoned the second in dignity that fell, and is, in the first book, the second that awakens out of the trance, and confers with SATAN upon the situation of their affairs, maintains his rank in the book now before us. There is a wonderful majesty described in his rising up to speak. He acts as a kind of moderator between the two opposite parties, and proposes a third undertaking, which the whole assembly gives into. The motion he makes of detaching one of their body in search of a new world is grounded upon a project devised by SATAN, and cursorily proposed by him in the following lines of the first book.

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Space may produce new worlds, whereof so rife
There went a fame in Heav'n, that he eré long
Intended to create, and therein plant
A generation, whom his choice regard
Should favour equal to the sons of Heav'n;
Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps
Our first eruption, thither or elsewhere :
For this infernal pit shall never hold
Celestial spirits in bondage, nor th' abyss

Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts

Full counsel must mature:

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It is on this project that BEELZEBUB grounds his proposal.

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In

power and excellence, but favoured more Of him who rules above; so was his will

Pronounc'd among the Gods, and by an oath,

That shook Heav'n's whole circumference, confirm'd."

The reader may observe how just it was, not to omit in the first book the project upon which the whole poem turns; as also that the prince of the fallen 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 beau tiful, and very apt to affect the reader's imagination, in this ancient prophecy or report in Heaven, concerning the creation 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 Roman Commonwealth, makes the heroes of it appear in their state of pre-exis

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tence; 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 rising of this great assembly is described in a very sublime and poetical manner.

"Their rising all at once was as the sound

Of thunder heard remote

The diversions of the fallen angels, with the particular account of their place of habitation, are described with great pregnancy of thought, and copiousness of invention. The diversions are every way suitable to beings who had nothing left them but strength and knowledge misapplied. Such are their contentious at the race, and in feats of arms, with their entertainments, in the following lines.

"Others with vast Typhæan rage more fell

Rend up both rocks and hills, and ride the air
In whirlwind, Hell scarce holds the wild uproar."

Their music is employed in celebrating their own criminal exploits, and their discourse in sounding the unfathomable depths of fate, freewill, and foreknowledge.

The several circumstances in the description of Hell are finely imagined; as the four rivers which disgorge themselves into the sea of fire, the extremes of cold and heat, and the river of Oblivion. The monstrous animals produced in that infernal world are represented by a single line, which gives us a more horrid idea of them, than a much longer description would have done.

-Nature breeds,

Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things,
Abominable, inutterable, and worse

Than fables yet have feign'd or fear conceiv'd,
Gorgons and Hydras, and Chimeras dire."

This episode of the fallen spirits and their place of habitation, comes in very happily to unbend the mind of

the

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