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Erplex'd and troubled at his bad fuccefs
The Tempter ftood, nor had what to reply,
Discover'd in his fraud, thrown from his hope
So oft, and the perfuafive rhetoric

That fleek'd his tongue, and won so much on Eve, 5
So little here, nay loft; but Eve was Eve,
This far his over-match, who felf-deceiv'd
And rafh, before-hand had no better weigh'd
The strength he was to cope with, or his own:
But as a man who had been matchlefs held

7. This far his over-match, who felf-deceiv'd &c.] An ufual conftruction in Milton, This far an over-match for him, who felf-deceiv'd and rash, before band had no better weigh'd &c. Neither is this inconfiftent, as Mr. Thyer conceives it to be, with what Satan had declared in book II. 131.

Have found him, view'd him,

tafted him, but find Far other labor to be undergone &c.



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In cunning over-reach'd where least he thought,
To falve his credit, and for very fpite,

Still will be tempting him who foils him ftill,
And never ceafe, though to his fhame the more;
Or as a swarm of flies in vintage time,
About the wine-prefs where sweet muft is pour'd,
Beat off, returns as oft with humming found;
Or furging waves against a folid rock,

fhips and warriors: and our author here follows his example, and prefents us, as I may fay, with a firing of fimilitudes together. This fecundity and variety of the two poets can never be fufficiently admired but Milton, I think, has the advantage in this refpect, that in Homer the loweft comparifon is fometimes the laft, whereas here in Milton they rife in my opinion, and improve one upon another. The firit has too much fameness with the fubject it would illuftrate, and gives us no new ideas. The fecond is low, but it is the lowness of Homer, and at the fame time is The third is free very natural. from the defects of the other two, and rifes up to Milton's ufual dignity and majefty. Mr. Thyer, who has partly made the fame obfervations with me, fays that Milton, as if confcious of the defects of the two foregoing comparifons, rifes up here to his ufual fublimity, and prefents to the reader's mind an

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Though all to fhivers dash'd, th' affault renew,
Vain batt'ry, and in froth or bubbles end;

So Satan, whom repulse upon repulse

Met ever, and to fhameful filence brought,
Yet gives not o'er though defp'rate of success,
And his vain importunity pursues.

He brought our Saviour to the western fide
Of that high mountain, whence he might behold




Ητε και εργομενη μαλα περ χροσ of the fixth book of his Paradife


Ισχαναα δακεειν.

Et ei mufcæ audaciam pectori

bus immifit, Quæ licet abaca crebro à corpore humano, Appetit mordere.


This fimile is very much in the fame taste with one in the fecond Iliad of Homer, where he compares the Greek army to warms of flies buzzing about the shepherds milk pail in the spring, and feems liable to the fame objection which is made to that, of being too low for the grandeur of the fubject. It must however be allow'd, that nothing could better exprefs the teazing ceafelefs importunity of the Tempter than this does. Mr. Pope in his note on this paffage of Homer obferves that Milton, who was a clofe imitator of him, has often copied him in these bumble comparisons, and inftances thofe lines in the end

Loft, where the rebel Angels thunder-ftruck by the Meffiah are compared to a herd of goats or timorous flock together throng'd. The obfervation is juft, but very far in my opinion from being verified by the paffage produc'd. No image of terror or confternation could be too low for that exhaufted fpiritlefs condition, in which thofe vanquifh'd Angels must at that inftant be fuppofed to be, and that abject timoroufnefs imputed to them, in-ftead of leffening the dignity of the defcription rather adds to it, by exciting in the reader's mind a greater idea of the tremendous majefty of the Son of God. This comparison of the flies now before us would have anfwer'd his purpofe much better.

Thyer. I cannot entirely agree with my ingenious friend; for Mr. Pope is difcourfing there of low images, which are preceded by others of a lofty ftrain, and on that account L 3


Another plain, long but in breadth not wide,
Wash'd by the southern fea, and on the north


To equal length back'd with a ridge of hills,
That fcreen'd the fruits of th' earth and feats of men
From cold Septentrion blasts, thence in the midft
Divided by a river, of whofe banks

On each fide an imperial city stood,
With tow'rs and temples proudly elevate
On fev'n fmall hills, with palaces adorn'd,
Porches and theatres, baths, aqueducts,
Statues and trophies, and triumphal arcs,
Gardens and groves prefented to his eyes,
Above the highth of mountains interpos'd:
By what strange parallax or optic skill
Of vifion multiply'd through air, or glafs

this comparifon, however fuitable in other refpects, would not have been fo proper for his purpose,

27. Another plain, &c] The fearned reader need not be inform'd, that the country here meant is Italy, which indeed is long but not broad, and is wafh'd by the Mediterranean on the fouth, and fcreen'd by the Alps on the north, and divided in the midft by the river Tiber.




35. On fev'n Small hills,] Virg Georg. II. 535.

Septemque una fibi muro circumdedit arces.

40. By what frange parallax or

optic fkill &c] The learned have been very idly bufy in contriving the manner in which Satan fhowed to our Saviour all the kingdoms of the world. Some fuppofe it was done by vifion; others by

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