« السابقةمتابعة »
the description of its musicians, poets, orators, and philosophers, is given with the hand of a master, and with all the fond affection of an enthusiast in Greek literature. Our Lord's reply is no less admirable; particularly where he displays the fallacy of the Heathen philosophy, and points out the errours of its most admired sects, with the greatest acuteness of argument, and at the same time in a noble strain of poetry. His contrasting the poetry and policy of the Hebrews with those of the Greeks, on the ground of what had been advanced by some learned men in this respect, is highly consistent with the argument of this Poem; and is so far from originating in that fanaticism, with which some of his ablest commentators have chosen to brand our Author, that it serves duly to counterbalance his preceding eloge on heathen literature. The next speech of the Tempter, ver. 368, is one of those masterpieces of plain composition, for which Milton is so eminent: the sufferings of our Blessed Lord are therein foretold with an energetick brevity, that, on such subjects, has an effect superiour to the most flowery and decorated language. The dialogue here ceases for a short time. The poet, in his own person, now describes, ver. 394, &c. our Lord's being conveyed by Satan back to the wilderness, the storm which the Tempter there raises, the tremendous night which our Lord passes, and the beautiful morning by which it is succeeded :-how exquisitely sublime and beautiful is all this !- -Yet this is the Poem, from which the ardent admirers of Milton's other works turn, as from a cold, uninteresting composition, the produce of his dotage, of a palsied hand, no longer able to hold the pencil of poetry ! -The dialogue which ensues, is worthy of this Book, and carries on the subject in the best manner to its concluding Temptation. The last speech of Satan is particularly deserving our notice. The Fiend, now “ swoln with rage" at the repeated failure of his attacks, breaks out into a language of gross insult, professing to doubt whether our Lord, whom he had before frequently addressed as the Son of God, is in any way entitled to that appellation. From this wantonly blasphemous obloquy he still recovers himself, and offers, with his usual art, a qualification of what he had last said, and a justification of his persisting in further attempts on the Divine Person, by whom he had been so constantly foiled. These are the masterly discriminating
touches, with which the poet has admirably drawn the cha racter of the Tempter : The general colouring is that of plausible hypocrisy, through which, when elicited by the sudden irritation of defeat, his diabolical malignity frequently flashes out, and displays itself with singular effect.-We now come to the catastrophe of the Poem.—The Tempter conveys our Blessed Lord to the temple at Jerusalem ; where the description of the holy city, and of the temple, is pleasingly drawn. Satan has now little to say; he brings the question to a decisive point, in which any persuasion of rhetorical language on his part can be of no avail ; he therefore speaks in his own undisguised person and character, and his language accordingly is that of scornful insult. The result of the trial is given with the utmost brevity; and its consequences are admirably painted. The despair and fall of Satan, with its successive illustrations, ver. 562 to ver. 580, have all the boldness of Salvator Rosa; while the Angels supporting our Lord, “as on a floating couch, through the blithe air," is a sweetly pleasing and highly finished picture from the pencil of Guido. The refreshment ministered to our Lord by the Angels is an intended and striking contrast to the luxurious banquet with which he had been tempted in the preceding part of the Poem.' The Angelick Hymn, which concludes the Book, is at once poetical and scriptural: We may justly apply to it, and to this whole Poem, an observation, which Fuller, in his Worthies of Essex, first applied to Quarles, and which the ingenious Mr. Headley, in the Biographical Sketches prefixed to his Select Beauties of Ancient English Poetry, has transferred to the only poet to whom it is truly appropriate : “ To mix the waters of Jordan and Helicon in the same cup, was reserved for the hand of Milton; and for him, and him only, to find the bays of Mount Olivet equally verdant with those of Parnassus.” It may further be observed that Milton is himself an eminent instance of one of his own observations in his Tractate of Education ; having practically demonstrated, what he invites the juvenile student in Poetry theoretically to learn,“ what religious, what glorious, and magnificent use might be made of Poetry." Dunster.
you put it into
Origin of Paradise Regained. The origin of this poem is attributed to the suggestion of Ellwood the quaker. Milton had lent this friend, in 1665, his Paradise Lost, then completed in manuscript, at Chalfont St. Giles ; desiring him to peruse it at his leisure, and give his judgement of it. On returning the Poem, Milton asked him what he thought of it: “ which I modestly, but freely told him," says Ellwood in his Life of himself ; and, after some further discourse about it, I pleasantly said to him, “Thou hast said much of Paradise Lost, but what hast thou to say of Paradise Found?' He made me no answer, but sat some time in a muse; then broke off that discourse, and fell upon another subject.” When Ellwood afterwards waited on him in London, Milton showed him his PARADISE REGAINED; and,“ in a pleasant tone,” said to him, “ This is owing to you;
head by the question you put me at Chalfont; which before I had not thought of."
On this subject the Muses had not been before silent. own language, Bale has given us “ A Brefe Comedy, or Enterlude, concernynge the Temptacyon of our Lorde and Saver Jesus Christ by Sathan in the Desart, 1538." Milton might have noticed this ancient drama; of which an interesting account has been given by the late Rev. W. Beloe, in the first volume of his valuable Anecdotes of Literature, to which the conclusion of the drama is subjoined. Mr. Beloe had been favoured with the use of this scarce book by a most intelligent and learned possessor of literary curiosities, Francis Douce, Esq. to whose kindness I am indebted for the liberty of making further extracts from it; with which I trust to gratify the curious reader. I select part of the soliloquy of Satan, and of the dialogue between our Lord and him, sign. D. i. b. D. ij. a.
66 Satan tentator.
“ I hearde a great noyse in Jordane now of late, “ Vpon one Jesus, soundynge from heauen aboue ;
Thys is myne owne sonne whych hath withdrawne al hate, “ And he that doth stande most hyghly in my loue.
My wyttes the same sounde doth not a lyttle moue :
“ He cometh to redeme the kynde of Man I feare,
Hygh tyme is it than for me the cooles to steare.
“ I wyll not leaue hym tyll I knowe what he ys,
Subtyltie must helpe, els all wyll be amys;
“ Hic, simulata religione, Christum aggreditur.
“ It is a grat ioye, by my holydome, to se
Satan tentator. “ Than wyll I be bolde a lyttle with you to walke." I have only to observe that Satan here assumes a religious habit, or in other words is a hermit, as he himself relates, sign. D.
“ Scriptures I knowe non; for I am but an hermite, I; “ I maye saye to yow, it is no part of our stody: “ We relygyouse men lyue all in contemplacyon;
“ Scriptures to stodye, is not our occupacyon." Such is the garb in which Milton, and other writers also, array him on this occasion, as we shall presently see. But I procced to Satan's temptation, in which (as in Milton more diffusely,) the charms of women and the pleasures of the table are proposed, sign. E. i. b. E. ij. a.
“ Lo, how saye ye now, is not here a plesaunt syght? “ If ye wyll, ye may haue here all the worldes delyght.
iij. b. « Here is to be seene the kyngedome of Arabye, “ With all the regyons of Affryck, Europe, and Asye, “ And their whole delyghtes, their pompe, their magnificence, “ Their ryches, their honour, their welth, their concupyscence.
“ Here is golde and syluer in wonderfull habundaunce, “ Silkes, veluetes, tissues, with wynes and spyces of plesaunce. “ Here are fayre women, of countenance ameable,
“ With all kyndes of meates to the body dylectable, &c.” After the ineffectual attempts of Satan, the angels come and minister to our Saviour, concluding,
“ Our maner is it most hyghlye to reioyce “ Whan Man hath comfort, whych we now declare in voyce.
“ Hic dulce canticum coram Christo depromunt.” In 1611 Giles Fletcher published Christ's Victorie and Triumph: an elegant and impressive poem in four parts, of which the second, entitled Christ's Triumph on Earth, describes the Temptation. But to this poem the Paradise Regained owes little obligation. Perhaps the Italian Muse might afford a hint. In the following sacred poem, consisting of ten books, “ La Humanita del Figlivolo di Dio, in ottaua rima, per Theofilo Folengo, Mantoano. Venegia, 1533,” 4.', the fourth book treats largely of the Temptation : from which I will cite the descriptive scene, after the Devil has tempted our Lord, and has been rebuked with the reply, “ Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, &c."
“ Al suon di tanta, et tal sententia un grido
“ Per suo non già, ma ben per nostro merto.” There had been published also at Venice, in 1518, “La Vita et Passione di Christo, &c. composta per Antonio Cornozano.. In terza rima.” The subject of the sixth chapter of the first book is the Temptation : to which is prefixed a wooden cut, wherein Satan is represented as an old man with a long beard,