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Adam by dire example to beware
Apoftafy, by what befel in Heaven
To those apoftates, left the like befall
Charg'd not to touch the interdicted tree,
If they tranfgrefs, and flight that fole command,
Of all taftes elfe to please their appetite,
Though wand'ring. He with his conforted Eve 50
Of things fo high and strange, things to their thought
with as magnificent ideas. The fixth book, like a troubled ocean, reprefents greatness in confufion; the feventh 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 mention'd, among the rules which he lays down for fucceeding in the fublime way of writing, propofes to his reader, that he fhould imitate the moft celebrated authors who have gone before him, and been engaged in works of the fame nature; as in particular, that if he writes on a poetical fubject, he fhould confider how Homer would have spoken on fuch an occafion. By this means one great genius often catches the
flame from another, and writes in
And war fo near the peace of God in bliss
whole course of this book. The
47. If they tranfgrefs, &c.] We fhould obferve the connexion; Left
the like befall to Adam or his race, if they tranfgrefs, &c.
50:- He with his conforted Eve] Conforted from Confort, Cum conforte tori, as Ovid says, Met. I. 319.
59.- Whence Adam foon repeal'd The doubts that in his heart arofe:] Dr. Bentley would read difpell'd: but if an alteration were neceffary, I fhould rather read repell'd, as in ver. 610. we have their counfels vain Thou haft repell'd. But in the fame fenfe as a law is faid to be repeal'd, when an end is put to all the force and effect of it; fo, when doubts are at an end, they may be faid to be repeal'd.
Whofe liquid murmur heard new thirst excites,
Great things, and full of wonder in our ears, 70 Far differing from this world, thou hast reveal'd, Divine interpreter, by favor fent
Down from the empyréan to forewarn
Us timely' of what might elfe have been our loss,
Of what we are. But fince thou haft vouchfaf'd 80
69. Proceeded thus &c.] The conftruction is, And led on with defire to know &c proceeded thus to ask his heav'nly guest.
70. Great things, &c.] Adam's Speech to the Angel, wherein he defires an account of what had paf fed within the regions of nature before the creation, is very great and folemn. The following lines, in which he tells him, that the day is not too far spent for him to enter upon fuch a fubje&t, are exquisite in their kind.
And the great light of day yet
wants to run
Much of his race &c. Addison.
Things above earthly thought, which yet concern'd
Deign to defcend now lower, and relate
In Chaos, and the work begun, how foon
Met. I. 12. Hume.
92. fo late to build] It is a queftion that has been often asked, Why God did not create the world fooner? but the fame question might
And that can never be a juft exception against this time, which holds equally against all time. It must be refolved into the good will and pleafure of almighty God; but there is a farther reafon according to Milton's hypothefis, which is that God, after the expelling of Satan and his Angels out of Heaven, declar'd his pleafure to fupply their place by creating another world, and other creatures to dwell therein.
94. Abfolv'd,] Finish'd, com
be asked, if the world had been pleted, perfected, from Abfolutus created at any time, for ftill there (Latin.) Richardfon. were infinite ages before that time.
To glorify the Maker, and infer
Thee also happier, shall not be withheld
Wisdom the creation of the world, are very ture ufe of this term, to which, I
juft and beautiful. Addifon.
make no doubt, Milton alluded.
Prudens futuri temporis exitum