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Agnoscitque suo sumptum de corpore corpus,
Aspicio, accipióque libens tua maxima rerum
Offers, egregiâque thori me compare donas, &c. I must not omit to mention an English poem, relating to the state of innocence, entitled The Glasse of Time in the two first Ages, divinely handled by Thomas Peyton, of Lincolne's Inne, Gent. 4to. Lond. 1623; and to observe also that part of Du Bartas had been translated into verse, and published, before the first edition of Sylvester's, “ by William Lisle of Wilburgham, Esquier for the King's body," namely, in 1596 and 1598, and again in 1625. See the note on Milton's cxivth Psalm, ver. 11. Lisle's compound epithets, in his translation, are very numerous, and sometimes extremely beautiful. Sylvester has often merit also of this kind: but it is my duty to observe, that Sylvester is not always original; his shining phrases may be frequently traced in contemporary or preceding poets. In the notes on Milton's poetical works, I have sometimes had occasion to exhibit the expressions of Sylvester in this point of view. In justice, however, to this laborious writer, I shall here close my remarks with a detached specimen of his poetry; to which, if Milton has been indebted, the temptation of the Serpent in Paradise Lost affords such a contrast, that the reader will be at no loss how to appreciate the improvement.
Eve, second honour of this vniverse !
With th' air of these sweet words, the wily snake
“ As a false louer, that thick snares hath laid
Perceiuing Eve his flattering gloze digest
“ No, fair,” (quoth he) “ beleeue not that the care
his purest, fairest, rarest fruit's fruition :
SYLVESTER's Du BARTAS, Edit. 1621. pp. 192, 193.
As Milton has been supposed to have been much obliged to other poets in de. scribing the unsubdued spirit of Satan, especially where he says,
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven : I am tempted to make an extract or two from Stafford's Niobe, a prose-work already mentioned", in which Satan speaks the following words; not dissimilar to passages in Fletcher and Crashaw, which have been cited, on the same subject.
“They say forsooth, that pride was the cause of my fall; and that I dwell where there is nothing but weeping, howling, and gnashing of teeth ; of which that falsehood was the authour, I will make you plainelie perceiue. True it is, sir, that I (storming at the name of supremacie) sought to depose my Creatour ; which the watchful, all-seeing eye of Prouidence finding, degraded me of my angelicall dignitie, dispossessed me of all pleasures; and the Seraphin and Cherubin, Throni, Dominationes, Virtutes, Potestates, Principatus, Arch-angeli, Angeli, and all the celestiall Hierarchyes, with a shout of applause sung my departure out of Heaven : my Alleluia was turned into an Ehu; and too soone I found, that I was corruptibilis ab alio, though not in alio ; and that he, that gaue me my being, could againe take it from mee. Now for as much as I was once an angell of light, it was the will of Wisedome to confine me to darknes and to create mee prince thereof: that so I, who could not obey in Heauen, might commaund in Hell. And, belieue mee, sir, I had rather controule within my dark diocese, than to reinhabite cælum empyrium, and there liue in subjection, vnder check.” Edit. 1611, pp. 16–18 part the second. Stafford calls Satan the “grim visag'd Goblin,” ibid. p. 85. And, in the first part of the book, he describes the devil as having "committed incest with his daughter, the World.” P. 3. He also attributes the gunpowder plot to the devil,“ with his unhallowed senate of popes, the inuentors and fautours of this vnheard-of attempt in Hell.” p. 149.
I have thus brought together opinions, delivered at different periods respecting the origin of Paradise Lost; and have humbly endeavoured to trace, in part, the reading of the great poet, subservient to his plan. More successful discoveries
$ See the note p. 336.
TODD'S ORIGIN OF PARADISE LOST. will probably arise from the pursuits of those, who are devoted to patient and liberal investigation. Videlicet hoc illud est præcipuè studiorum genus, quod vigiliis augescat; ut cui subinde ceu fluminibus ex decursu, sic accedit ex lectione minutatim
quo fiat uberius. To such persons may be recommended the masterly observations of him, who was once so far imposed upon as to believe Lauder an honest man, and Milton a plagiary: but who expressed, when “ Douglas and Truth appeared,”” the strongest indignation against the envious impostor® : for they are observations resulting from a wish not to depreciate, but zealously to praise, the Paradise Lost. “ Among the inquiries, to which this ardour of cri. ticism bas naturally given occasion, none is more obscure in itself, or more wore thy of rational curiosity, than a retrospect of the progress of this mighty genius in the construction of his work; a view of the fabric gradually rising, perhaps, from small beginnings, till its foundation rests in the center, and its turrets sparkle in the skies; to trace back the structure, through all its varieties, to the simplicity of its first plan; to find what was first projected, whence the scheme was taken, how it was improved, by what assistance it was executed, and from what stores the materials were collected; whether its founder dug them from the quar. ries of Nature, or demolished other buildings to embellish his owno.” I may venture to add that, in such inquiries, patience will be invigorated rather than dispirited; and every new discovery will teach us more and more to admire the genius, the erudition, and the memory of the inimitable Milton.
6 Politian. Miscellaneorum Præf. ? The Progress of Envy, an excellent poem occasioned by Lauder's attack on the character of Milton. See Lloyd's Poems, last line of Progress of Envy.
* So bishop Douglas told the affectionate biographer of Dr. Johnson. See Boswell's Life of Johnson, Vol. 1. p. 197, Edit. 1799.
9 See Boswell's Life of Johnson, Vol. I. p. 199.
IN PARADISUN AMISSAM SUMMI POETÆ, JOHANNIS
Et non mortali desuper igne pluunt :
Stat dubius cui se parti concedat Olympus,
Et metuit pugnæ non superesse suæ. Qui legis Amissam Paradisum, grandia magni At simul in cælis Messiæ insignia fulgent, Carmina Miltoni, quid nisi cuncta legis?
Et currus animes, armáque digna Deo, Res cunctas, et cunctarum primordia rerum,
Horrendúmque rotæ strident, et sæva rotarum Et fata, et fines, continet iste liber.
Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus, Inti ma panduntur magni penetralia mundi,
Et flammæ vibrant, et vera tonitrua rauco Scribitur et toto quicquid in orbe latet :
Admistis flammis insonuere polo: Terræque, tractúsque maris, cælúmque profun- Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis, dum,
Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt; Sulphureúmque Erebi, flammivomúmque spe- Ad pænas fugiunt; et, ceu foret Orcus asylum,
Infernis certant condere se tenebris, Quæque colunt terras, pontúmque, et Tartara Cedite, Romani scriptores; cedite, Graii; cæca,
Et quos fama recens vel celebravit annus. Quæque colunt summi lucida regna poli :
Hæc quicunque leget tantùm cecinisse putabit Et quodcunque ullis conclusum est finibus us- Mævnidem ranas, Virgilium culices.
SAMUEL. BARROW, M.D. quam, Et sine fine Chaos, et sine fine Deus; Et sine fine magis, si quid magis est sine fine,
In Christo erga homines conciliatus amor. Hæc qui speraret quis crederet esse futurum?
Et tamen hæc hodiè terra Britanna legit. When I beheld the poet blind, yet bold, O quantos in bella duces ! quæ protulit arma ! In slender book his vast design unfold,
Quæ canit, et quantâ prælia dira tuba ! Messiah crown'd, God's reconcil'd decree, Cælestes acies ! atque in certamine cælum ! Rebelling angels, the forbidden tree,
Et quæ cælestes pugna deceret agros ! Heaven, Hell, Earth, Chaos, all; the argument Quantus in æthereis tollit se Lucifer armis ! Held me a while misdoubting his intent,
Atque ipso graditur vix Michaële minor ! That he would ruin (for I saw him strong) Quantis, et quàm funestis concurritur iris, The sacred truths to fable and old song ;
Dum ferus hic stellas protegit, ille rapit ! (So Sampson grop'd the temple's posts in spight) Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent, The world oʻerwhelming to revenge his sight.
1 This poem by Dr. Barrow, and the next by * Of Dr. Samuel Barrow, the author of these Milton's friend Andrew Marvel, have been usua)- verses, no account has been given by the editors ly published in the editions of Paradise Lost, of Milton. Toland only calls him a doctor of since the edition of 1674, to which they are both physic. Perhaps he was the physician to the prefixed. TODD.
army of general Monk. TODD."
ON PARADISE LOST.
Yet as I read, still growing less severe, How couldst thou hope to please this tinsel I lik'd his project, the success did fear;
race? Through that wild field how he his way should Though blind, yet, with the penetrating eye find,
Of intellectual light, thou dost survey O'er which lame Faith leads Understanding The labyrinth perplex'd of Heaven's decrees; blind;
And with a quill, pluck'd from an angel's wing", Lest he'd perplex the things he would explain, Dipt in the fount that laves the eternal throne, And what was easy he should render vain. Trace the dark paths of Providence Divine, Or if a work so infinite he spann'd,
“And justify the ways of God to man." Jealous I was that some less skilful hand
F. C. 1680.
Three poets, in three distant ages born,
Greece, Italy, and England, did adorn.
The first in loftiness of thought surpass'd;
The next, in majesty; in both, the last.
To make a third, she join'd the former two S. fit, And all that was improper dost omit : So that no room is here for writers left, But to detect their ignorance or theft. That majesty, which through thy work doth reign,
FROM AN ACCOUNT OF THE GREATEST ENGLISH POET Draws the devout, deterring the profane. And things divine thou treat'st of in such state But Milton next, with high and haughty stalks As them preserves, and thee, inviolate.
Unfetter'd, in majestic numbers, walks: At once delight and horrour on us seize,
No vulgar hero can his Muse engage, Thou sing'st with so much gravity and ease; Nor Earth's wide scene confine his hallow'd rage. And above human flight dost soar aloft
See! see! he upward springs, and, towering bigh, With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft. Spurns the dull pravince of mortality; The bird, nam'd from that Paradise you sing, Shakes Heaven's eternal throne with dire alarms, So never flags, but always keeps on wing. And sets the Almighty Thunderer in arms! Where couldst thou words of such a compass Whate'er his pen describes I more than see, find?
Whilst every verse array'd in majesty, Whence furnish such a vast expense of mind? Bold and sublime, my whole intention draws, Just Heaven thee, like Tiresias, to requite, And seems above the critic's nicer laws. Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight. How are you struck with terrour and delight,
Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure When angel with archangel copes in fight! With tinkling rhyme, of thy own sense secure; When great Messiah's outspread banner shines, While the Town-Bays writes all the while and How does the chariot rattle in his lines ! spells,
What sound of brazen wheels, with thunder, scare And, like a pack-horse, tires without his bells: And stun the reader with the din of war! Their fancies like our bushy points appear; With fear my spirits and my blood retire, The poets tag them, we for fashion wear. To see the seraphs sunk in clouds of fire : I too, transported by the mode, offend,
But when, with eager steps, from hence I rise, And, while I meant to praise thee, must com- And view the first gay scene of Paradise; mend.
What tongue, that words of rapture, can express Thy verse created, like thy theme, sublime, A vision so profuse of pleasantness! In number weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.
ture that Francis Cradock,a member of the Rota. Club to which Milton belonged, might be the
author of them. See Wood's Ath. Ox. rol. i. TO MR. JOHN MILTON, ON HIS POEM ENTITLED PA
531. TODD. RADISE LOST 3.
4 The expressions, in this line, occur in one of 0
THOU ! the wonder of the present age, Constable's Sonnets. An age immers'd in luxury and vice;
The pen wherewith thow dost so heauenly singe A race of triflers; who can relish nought
Made of a quill pluckt from an angell's winge. But the gay issue of an idle brain :
So, in Davies's Bien Venu, 1606.
But poet's pens pluckt from archangels' wings 3 These verses by F. C. are prefixed to Mil- 5 This celebrated epigram on Milton appears ton's poetical works in the edition of the English under the well-engraved bead of the poet by R. poets, 1779. They had before appeared in White, prefixed to the folio edition of Paradise Fawkes and Woty's Poetical Calendar, 1763, vol. Lost in 1689. It has been thus published in many viii. 69. But we are not told who F. C. was. As succeeding editions of the same poem. Drydes, I have not yet met with these verses in any other I should add, is a subscriber to the edition of itch, publication, I may be permitted to offer a conjec- TODD.