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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 climo 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 scene as though Switzerland were set on fire," 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.
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 universe of death,
Where all life dies, death lives, and Nature breeds
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,
Built like a temple, where pilasters round
Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid
With golden architrave; nor did they want
Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures grav'n:
The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon,
Nor great Alcairo such magnificence
Equall'd in all their glories, to inshrine
Belus or Serapis their gods, or seat
Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove
In wealth and luxury. Th' ascending pile
Stood fix'd her stately height ; and straight the doors,
Op'ning their brazen folds, discover wide
Within her ample spaces, o'er the smooth
And level pavement. From the arched roof,
Pendant by subtle magic, many a row
Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed
With naptha and asphaltas, yielded light
As from a sky."
From Pandemonium we fly to Paradise; and as every figure in the description of Hell, heightens some previous horror, and adds to the weight of some already oppressing sense of woe, so in Eden every image heightens our idea of enjoyment; 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 Eden—it is a wilderness of beauty; what