Page images
PDF
EPUB

HIS preferring the Garden of Eden to that

-

Where the Sapient King

Held Dalliance with his fair Egyptain Spouse,

fhews that the Poet had this delightful Scene in his Mind.

EVE's Dream is full of those high Conceits engendring Pride, which, we are told, the Devil endeavoured to inftil into her. Of this Kind is that Part of it where fhe fancies herself awaken'd by Adam in the following beautiful Lines.

Why fleep'st thou Eve? now is the pleasant time,
The cool, the filent, fave where filence yields
To the night-warbling bird, that now awake
Tunes fweeteft his love-labour'd song; now reigns
Full orb'd the moon, and with more pleasing light
Shadowy fets off the face of things: In vain
If none regard; Heav'n wakes with all his
Whom to behold but thee, Nature's defire,
In whofe fight all things joy, with ravishment
Attracted by thy beauty fill to gaze!

eyes

AN injudicious Poet would have made Adam talk thro' the whole Work, in fuch Sentiments as thefe. But Flattery and Falfhood are not the Courtship of Milton's Adam, and could not be heard by Eve in her State of Innocence, except

ing

ing only in a Dream produc'd on purpose to taint her Imagination. Other vain Sentiments of the fame Kind in this Relation of her Dream, will be obvious to every Reader. Tho' the Cataftrophe of the Poem is finely prefaged on this Occafion, the Particulars of it are fo artfully fhadow'd, that they do not anticipate the Story which follows in the Ninth Book. I fhall only add, that tho' the Vision it self is founded upon Truth, the Circumstances of it are full of that Wildness and Inconfiftency which are natural to a Dream. Adam, conformable to his fuperior Character for Wifdom, inftructs and Comforts Eve upon this Occafion.

So chear'd be his fair Spouse, and she was chear'd,
But filently a gentle tear let fall
From either eye, and wip'd them with her hair;
Two other precious drops that ready flood,
Each in their chrystal fluice, he e'er they fell
Kis'd, as the gracious Signs of fweet remorse
And pious awe, that fear'd to have offended.

THE Morning Hymn is written in Imitation of one of thofe Pfalms, where, in the Overflowings of Gratitude and Praife, the Pfalmift calls not only upon the Angels, but upon the moft confpicuous Parts of the inanimate Creati on, to joyn with him in extolling their Com mon Maker. Invocations of this Nature fill the Mind with glorious Ideas of God's Works, and

awaken

ti

er.

Lift

he

iti

m.

the

ind

ken

awaken that divine Euthufiafm, which is fo natural to Devotion. But if this Calling upon the dead Parts of Nature, is at all Times a proper Kind of Worship, it was in a particular Manner fuitable to our firft Parents, who had the Creation fresh upon their Minds, and had not fees the various Difpenfations of Providence, nor confequently could be acquainted with thofe many Topicks of Praife which might afford Matter to the Devotions of their Pofterity. I need not remark the beautiful Spirit of Poetry, which runs through this whole Hymn, nor the Holiness of that Refolution with which it concludes.

HAVING already mentioned thofe Speeches which are affigned to the Perfons in this Poem, I proceed to the Defcription which the Poet gives of Raphael. His Departure from before the Throne, and his Flight thro' the Choirs of Angels, is finely imaged. As Milton every where fills his Poem with Circumstances that are marvellous and aftonishing, he defcribes the Gate of Heaven as framed after fuch a Manner, that it open'd of it felf upon the Approach of the Angel who was to pass through

it.

till at the gate

Of Heav'n arriv'd, the gate felf-open'd wide,
On golden Hinges turning, as by work
Divine the Sovereign Architect had framed,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

THE Poet here feems to have regarded two or three Paffages in the 18th Iliad, as that in particular, where, fpeaking of Vulcan, Homer fays, that he had made twenty Tripodes running on Golden Wheels, which, upon Oc cafion, might go of themselves to the Affembly of the Gods, and, when there was no more Use for them, return again after the fame Manner. Scaliger has rallied Homer very feverely upon this Point, as M. Dacier has endeavoured to defend it. I will not pretend to determine, whether in this Particular of Homer, the Marvellous does not lofe Sight of the Probable. As the miraculous Workmanship of Milton's Gates is not fo extraordinary as this of the Tripodes, so I am perfwaded he would not have mentioned it, had not he been fupported in it by a Paffage in the Scripture, which fpeaks of Wheels in Heaven that had Life in them, and moved of themselves, or ftood ftill, in Conformity with the Cherubims, whom they accompanied.

THERE is no Queftion but Milton had this Circumstance in his Thoughts, because in the following Book he defcribes the Chariot of the Meffiah with living Wheels, according to the Plan in Ezekiel's Vifion.

·Forth rush'd with whirlwind found

The Chariot of Paternal Deity,

Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel undrawn, It felf inftinct with Spirit

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

I question not but Boffu, and the two Daciers, who are for vindicating every Thing that is cenfured in Homer, by fomething parallel in Holy Writ, would have been very well pleased had they thought of confronting Vulcan's Tripodes with Ezekiel's Wheels.

RAPHAEL's Defcent to the Earth, with the Figure of his Perfon, is represented in very lively Colours. Several of the French, Italian, and English Poets have given a Loose to their Imaginations in the Defcription of Angels: But I do not remember to have met with any fo finely drawn, and fo comformable to the Notions which are given of them in Scripture, as this in Milton. After having fet him forth in all his heavenly Plumage, and represented him as alighting upon the Earth, the Poet concludes his Description with a Circumftance, which is altogether new, and imagined with the greatest Strength of Fancy.

Like Maia's Son he stood

Änd sbook his plames, that Heav'nly fragrance fill3¿
The Circuit wide

RAPHAEL's Reception by the Guardian Angels; his paffing through the Wilderness of Sweets; his diftant Appearance to Adam, have all the Graces that Poetry is capable of beftowing. The Author afterwards gives us a particular Defcription of Eve in her Domestick Employments.

[ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »