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Italy or of France; not the ease of Rome or Greece. Did not the subject demand a language of its own, and such a language has Milton fabricated! Again let the reader think, this is not the language of Chaucer, homely Saxon father that he was ; still less is it that of Spenser so quaint, grotesque, fantastic—a piece of gabled architecture. It is not that of Shakspear—■ lively, full, flowing, various Milton's language in Paradise Lost is the very arabesque and mosaic of languages,—is a tapestry woven, like his mind, of thick massive texture from the products of every mind upon the globe. How heavily this majestic ocean of language rolls and beats to and fro as it obeys the impulse of the master mind. Can any thing be conceived more appropriate to the theme? Let us cite a few illustrations of what we may term the mosaic of Milton's ideas. Let the reader notice the strength of the following lines, premising always that they are no special selections; that the poem abounds with them; that their perpetual recurrence is a part of its structure—greatness.
"The sulphurous hail,
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
Is not the last line itself like the closing climax of a thunder peal? Or again, what sonorousness in the following lines, the action and the sound! Were they ever heard together in such perfect harmony? How the mind is stirred to the whole chivalry of the scene by that one line “ Clash'd on their sounding shields."
“He spake and to confirm his words out flew
This is one of the great requisites of poetry. It is for this purpose that in all ages, rhythm, or the measured march of words, has been employed though the rhythm can never alone constitute poetry. It is the soul that informs this sense of hearing, and gives the impression of a lofty sound to a most lofty action or sentiment. What an illustration of this we have in the uprearing of the infernal banner; we catch the rustling of its massive folds ; its gorgeousness is dimly seen,
set off however by the fitful gleaming of the spiral pointed Aames.
“Azazel, as his right, a cherub tall
Nor may we omit to notice the exquisite beauty of colouring with which all the varied books of the poem teem. Although often quoted, we will yet read them together here.The description of Evening :
“Now came still evening on, and twilight grey
She all night long her am'rous descant sung;
Apparent queen, unveil'd her peerless light,
And what favourites are some of these descriptions: their solemnity sways the spirit; we can never too often repeat them; they are ever fresh. That sublime discourse put into the mouth of Adam, upon man's nearness to the spiritual world, we quote; we treasure it in our hearts as well as our memories. We long to believe the doctrine of it, that the angels are not far from us—that they sometimes cross our path. We retain in our spirits some hints of our kindred to the world of souls; and by ourselves at night, in silence, or by the bed of death, or in the gloomy solitude in the day time, we find ourselves repeating—
"Millions of spiritual creatures walk this earth,
While they keep watoh, or nightly rounding walk,
Who does not love to read some of those lines, which blow to us, as on a gale, the freshness of the morning!
"Now Morn, her rosy steps in th' Eastern clime Advancing, sow"d the earth with Orient pearl."
And that invocation to arise from slumber—
"Awake—-the morning shines, and the fresh field
This poetry, rich, delightful, accessible to the understanding, we would wish to find its way to the home of most persons into whose hands this book may chance to come. But there are other things more intrinsically magnificent. Let the reader look at the places described. What a sublime horror hangs over the infernal world! Did light and shade ever meet in this dreadful unison before? "A scone as though Switzerland were set on fire,"