« السابقةمتابعة »
says George Gilfillan. Yes! that is the picture, -and it is only by such an image before the eye that the reader can ever dimly realise this dreadful world. The awful plain prepared by Almighty vengeance is girt with vast and horrid rocks; we hear the rush of fiery streams; and far off, on peak beyond peak, we catch the dim trembling of the vivid lightning ; there is no light in this world; there is no darkness,—it is “ darkness visible.”
“A dungeon, horrible on all sides round,
As one great furnace flamed ;
The imagination diffuses itself over a world yet lying beyond the immediate theatre of action—a world of alternate frost and fire. Infernal Heclas—vast and wide. Away we are borne on through the latitudes and longitudes of Hell.
“Rocks, caves, lakes, seas, bogs, dens, and shades of death;
A territory unpeopled. Alas! all the scheme of the poem turns upon those damned agencies
by which the world of horror and of woe should be crowded with victims. Upon a hill, a grizly and volcanic cone, rich in precious metals, rises the Palace Chamber, the Council Hall, the Valhalla of these lost spirits. The terrible Pandemonium ;-thither, where enwombed lay the heaps of gold, and silver, Mammon led the way. The hill opened out its ribs, the solid gold is dug.
“Let none admire
Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet,
From Pandemonium we fly to Paradise ; and as every figure in the description of Hell hoightons some previous horror, and adds to the woight of some already oppressing sense of woo, so in Eden every image heightens our idea of onjoyment; all is Oriental and wild. The space is not so vast as that of Hell; it is locked in by careful enclosures ; and here there are but two inhabitants, and those to be soon banished; while the population of Hell, already immense, is to increase with the roll of ages. But Edon—it is a wilderness of beauty; what a perfect opulence of sweets! tho trim hand of civilization has never touched these gardens.
“Thus was this place A happy rural seat of various view; Groves whose rich trees wept od'rous gums and balm, Others whose fruit burnish'd with golden rind Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true. If true, here only, and of delicious taste, Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks Grazing the tender herb, were interposed, Or palmy hillock; or the flow'ry lap Of some irriguous valley spread her store; Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose: Another side, umbrageous grots and caves Of cool recess, o’er which the mantling vine Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps Luxuriant: meanwhile murm'ring waters fall Down the slope hills, dispersed, or in a lake, That to the fringed bank with myrtle crown'd Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams. The birds their choir apply; air, vernal airs, Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune The trembling leaves, while universal Pan, Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance, Led on th' eternal spring, Not that fair field Of Enna, where Proserpine gath'ring flow'rs, Herself the fairest flower, by gloomy Dis Was gathered, which cost Ceres all that pain To seek her through the world; nor that sweet grove Of Daphne by Orontes, and th’ inspired Castalian spring, might with this Paradise Of Eden strive."
Now is there not rich work here for the dilating and delighted fancy? This beauty relieved and set off by the shaggy hill through which the river winds its way, the crisped brook rolling by sands of gold, from sapphire founts. Ah! what a spot is this! with that nuptial bower, showering down roses on the sleeping lovers,—the green bank, by that smooth lake, where Eve first beheld her reflected form,—that sylvan lodge,--deep forests, undesecrated by sin or shame, and peopled by birds of glorious plumage—this is Eden.
And then the characters of the poem of Satan ;-we have said something, and would willingly say more, but that space forbids our doing so. We have then other spirits beside Satan-celestial and infernal; the latter appear before us in the discussions in council in Pandemonium, in full length. We notice their relative stature, and with what excited interest we are compelled to listen to their separate advices. What study of character is here ! do they not ever speak like spirits? We feel that the poet has impersonated character and sentiment; yes, there are the gods men have worshipped, for in all ages men have bowed before, and paid homage to, abstract images of themselves. Men, the very copy of these lost spirits,