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Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard
In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears
To rapture, till the savage clamour drown'd
Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend
Her son.
So fail not thou, who thee implores :
For thou art heav'nly, she an empty dream.
Say Goddess, what ensued when Raphaël,

fered him to live and die unmolested.

35. —where woods and rocks had ears] So in his verses ad Partem, 1. 53. of Orpheus,

Qui tenuit fluvios, et quercubus addidit aures Carmine

T. Warton. 40.-what ensued when Raphaël, &c.] Longinus has observed, that there may be a loftiness in sentiments, where there is no passion, and brings instances out of ancient authors to support this his opinion. The pathetic, as that great critic observes, may animate and inflame the sublime, but is not essential to it. Accordingly as he further remarks, we very often find that those who excel most in stirring up the passions, very often want the talent of writing in the great and sublime manner, and so on the contrary. Milton has shewn himself a master in both these ways of writing. The seventh book, which we are now entering upon, is an instance of that sublime, which is not mixed and worked up with passion. The author appears in a kind of composed and sedate majesty; and though the sentiments do not give so great an emotion, as



those in the former book, they abound with as magnificent ideas. The sixth book, like a troubled ocean, represents greatness in confusion; the seventh affects the imagination like the ocean in a calm, and fills the mind of the reader, without producing in it any thing like tumult or agitation. The critic above mentioned, among the rules which he lays down for succeeding in the sublime way of writing, proposes to his reader, that he should imitate the most celebrated authors who have gone before him, and been engaged in works of the same nature; as in particular, that if he writes on a poetical subject, he should consider how Homer would have spoken on such an occasion. By this means one great genius often catches the flame from another, and writes in his spirit, without copying servilely after him. There are a thousand shining passages in Virgil, which have been lighted up by Homer. Milton, though his own natural strength of genius was capable of furnishing out a perfect work, has doubtless very much raised and ennobled his conceptions, by such an imitation as that which Longius has recommended. In this

The affable Arch-Angel, had forewarn'd
Adam by dire example to beware
Apostasy, by what befel in heaven
To those apostates, lest the like befal
In Paradise to Adam or his race,
Charg'd not to touch the interdicted tree,

If they transgress, and slight that sole command,
So easily obey'd amid the choice

Of all tastes else to please their appetite,

Though wand'ring. He with his consorted Eve
The story heard attentive, and was fill'd
With admiration and deep muse, to hear

book, which gives us an account of the six days' works, the poet received very few assistances from heathen writers, who were strangers to the wonders of creation. But as there are many glorious strokes of poetry upon this subject in holy writ, the author has numberless allusions to them through the whole course of this book. The great critic I have before mentioned, though an heathen, has taken notice of the sublime manner in which the lawgiver of the Jews has described the creation in the first chapter of Genesis; and there are many other passages in Scripture which rise up to the same majesty, where this



Of things so high and strange, things to their thought
So unimaginable as hate in heaven,

And war so near the peace of God in bliss
With such confusion: but the evil soon
Driv'n back redounded as a flood on those


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From whom it sprung, impossible to mix
With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repeal'd
The doubts that in his heart arose and now
Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know
What nearer might concern him, how this world
Of heav'n and earth conspicuous first began,
When, and whereof created, for what cause,
What within Eden or without was done
Before his memory, as one whose drought
Yet scarce allay'd still eyes the current stream,
Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites,
Proceeded thus to ask his heav'nly guest.

Great things, and full of wonder in our ears, Far differing from this world, thou hast reveal'd, Divine interpreter, by favour sent

Down from the empyréan to forewarn

59.-Whence Adam soon repeal'd

The doubts that in his heart

Dr. Bentley would read dispell'd;
but if an alteration were ne-
I should rather read
repell'd, as in ver. 610. we have
-their counsels vain Thou hast
repell'd. But in the same sense
as a law is said to be repealed,
when an end is put to all the
force and effect of it; so, when
doubts are at an end, they may
be said to be repealed. Pearce.


61. yet sinless,] Desiring knowledge indeed, (led on with desire to know, &c.) but not the forbidden knowledge of good and evil. E.

69. Proceeded thus &c.] The construction is, And led on with




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Us timely' of what might else have been our loss,
Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach : 75
For which to th' infinitely Good we owe
Immortal thanks, and his admonishment
Receive with solemn purpose to observe
Immutably his sovran will, the end

Of what we are. But since thou hast vouchsaf'd
Gently for our instruction to impart

Things above earthly thought, which yet concern'd
Our knowing, as to highest wisdom seem'd,
Deign to descend now lower, and relate
What may no less perhaps avail us known,
How first began this heav'n which we behold
Distant so high, with moving fires adorn'd
Innumerable, and this which yields or fills
All space,
the ambient air wide interfus'd
Embracing round this florid earth, what cause
Mov'd the Creator in his holy rest
Through all eternity so late to build

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In Chaos, and the work begun, how soon
Absolv'd, if unforbid thou may'st unfold
What we, not to explore the secrets ask
Of his eternal empire, but the more
To magnify his works, the more we know.
And the great light of day yet wants to run
Much of his race though steep; suspense in heaven,

ages before that time. And that can never be a just exception against this time, which holds equally against all time. It must be resolved into the good will and pleasure of Almighty God; but there is a farther reason according to Milton's hypothesis, which is that God, after the expelling of Satan and his angels out of heaven, declared his pleasure to supply their place by creating another world, and other creatures to dwell therein.

94. Absolv'd,] Finished, completed, perfected, from Absolutus, (Latin.) Richardson.

98. And the great light of day yet wants to run &c.] Our author has improved upon Homer, Odyss. xi. 372. where Alcinous by the same sort of arguments endeavours to persuade Ulysses to continue his narration; only there it was night, and here the scene is by day.

Νυξ δ' ήδε μαλα μακρη, αθέσφατος· δε

TW wen

Εύδειν ἐν μεγαρῷ· συ δε μοι λεγε θεσ-
κιλα έργα.
Και κενές που διαν ανασχοιμήν

And lo! a length of night behind
The evening stars still mount th'
ethereal plains,


Thy tale with raptures I could hear thee tell,

Thy woes on earth, the wondrous scenes in hell,

Till in the vault of heav'n the stars decay,

And the sky reddens with the rising day. Broome.

Mr. Thyer is of opinion, that there is not a greater instance of our author's exquisite skill in the art of poetry, than this and the following lines. There is nothing more, really to be expressed, than Adam's telling Raphael his desire to hear the continuance of his relation, and yet the poet by a series of strong and noble figures has worked it up into half a score of as fine lines as any in the whole poem. Lord Shaftesbury has observed, that Milton's beauties generally depend upon solid thought, strong reasoning, noble passion, and a continued thread of moral doctrine; but in this place he has shewn what an exalted fancy

and mere force of poetry can do.

-suspense in heaven,
Held by thy voice, thy potent
voice, he hears,]

We have here altered the punc-
tuation of the first editions,
which was thus,

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