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By the help of these, and a thousand other nameless arts, which it is easier for her to practise than for another to express, by the obstinacy of her goodness and unprovoked submission, in spite of all her afflictions and ill usage, Bromius is become a man of sense and a kind husband, and Emilia a happy wife.
Ye guardian angels, to whose care heaven has intrusted its dear Emilia, guide her still forward in the paths of virtue, defend her from the insolence and wrongs of this undiscerning world; at length, when we must no more converse with such purity on earth, lead her gently hence, innocent and unreprovable, to a better place, where, by an easy transition from what she now is, she may shine forth an angel of light.
No. 303. SATURDAY, FEB. 16, 1711-12,
-Volet hæc sub luce videri,
Judicis argutum que non formidat acumen.
HOR. Ars Poet. ver. 363.
-Some choose the clearest light,
And boldly challenge the most piercing eye.
I HAVE seen, in the works of a modern philoso-. pher, a map of the spots in the sun. My last paper of the faults and blemishes in Milton's Paradise Lost may be considered as a piece of the same nature. To pursue the allusion: as it is observed, that among the bright parts of the luminous body above-mentioned, there are some which glow more intensely, and dart a stronger light than others; so, notwithstanding I have al
ready shewn Milton's poem to be very beautiful in general, I shall now proceed to take notice of such beauties as appear to me more exquisite than the rest. Milton has proposed the subject of his poem in the following verses:
Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
These lines are, perhaps, as plain, simple, and unadorned, as any of the whole poem, in which particular the author has conformed himself to the example of Homer, and the precept of Horace.
His invocation to a work, which turns in a great measure upon the creation of the world, is very properly made to the Muse who inspired Moses in those books from whence our author drew his subject, and to the Holy Spirit who is therein represented as operating after a particular manner in the first production of nature. This whole exordium rises very happily into noble language and sentiments, as I think the transition to the fable is exquisitely beautiful and natural.
The nine days' astonishment, in which the angels lay entranced after their dreadful overthrow and fall from heaven, before they could recover either the use of thought or speech, is a noble circumstance, and very finely imagined. The division of hell into seas of fire, and into firm ground impregnated with the same furious element, with that particular circumstance of the exclusion of Hope from those infernal regions, are instances of the same great and fruitful invention.
The thoughts in the first speech and description of Satan, who is one of the principal actors in this poem, are wonderfully proper to give us a full idea of him. His pride, envy, and revenge, obstinacy, despair and impenitence, are all of them very artfully interwomen. In short, his first speech is a complication of all those passions which discover themselves separately in several other of his speeches in the poem. The whole part of this great enemy of mankind is filled with such incidents as are very apt to raise and terrify the reader's imagination. Of this nature, in the book now before us, is his being the first that awakens out of the general trance, with his posture on the burning lake, his rising from it, and the description of his shield and spear:
Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate,
Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
Driv'n backward slope ther pointing spires, and roll'd
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight
That felt unusual weight
-His pond'rous shield
Ethereral temper, massy, large and round,
To which we may add his call to the fallen angels that lay plunged and stupified in the sea of fire:
He call'd so loud, that all the hollow deep
Of hell resounded.
But there is no single passage in the whole poem worked up to a greater sublimity, than that wherein his person is described in those celebrated lines:
-He, above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
His sentiments are every way answerable to his character, and suitable to a created being of the most exalted and most depraved nature. Such is that in which he takes possession of his place of torments:
-Hail horrors! hail
Infernal world! and thou profoundest hell
-Here at least
We shall be free! th' Almighty hath not built
Amidst those impieties which this enraged spirit utters in other places of the poem, the author has taken care to introduce none that is not big with absurdity, and incapable of shocking a religious reader; his words, as the poet himself describes them, bearing only a semblance of worth, not substance.' He is likewise with great art described as owning his adversary to be Almighty. Whatever perverse interpretation he
puts on the justice, mercy, and other attributes of the Supreme Being, he frequently confesses his omnipotence, that being the perfection he was forced to allow him, and the only consideration which could support his pride under the shame of his defeat.
Nor must I here omit that beautiful circumstance of his bursting out into tears, upon his survey of those innumerable spirits whom he had involved in the same guilt and ruin with himself:
-He now prepar'd
To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend
The catalogue of evil spirits has abundance of learning in it, and a very agreeable turn of poetry, which rises in a great measure from its describing the places where they were worshipped, by those beautiful marks of rivers so frequent among the ancient poets. The author had doubtless in this place Homer's catalogue of ships, and Virgil's list of warriors, in his view. The characters of Moloch and Belial prepare the reader's mind for their respective speeches and behaviour in the second and sixth book. The account of Thammuz is finely romantic, and suitable to what we read among the ancients of the worship which was paid to that idol:
-Thammuz came next behind,
This quotation from Milton, and the paragraph immedi ately following it, were not in the first publication of this paper in folio.