صور الصفحة

Torment with ease, and soonest reeompense

Bole with delight; whieh in this plaee I sought:

To thee no reason, who know'st only good, 800

But evil hast not tried: and wilt objeet

His will who bounds Ub? Let him surer bar

His iron gates, if he intends our stay

In that dark duranee: thus mueh what was ask'd.

The rest is true, they found me where they say; eoo

But that implies not violenee or harm.

Thus he in seorn. The warlike angel moved,
Disdainfully half-smiling, thus replied:—

0 loss of one in heaven to judge of wise,

Sinee Satan fell, whom folly overthrew; 008

And now returns him from his prison 'seaped,

Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise

Or not, who ask what boldness brought him hither

Unlieensed from his bounds in hell preseribed:

So wise he judges it to lly from pain 010

However, and to 'seape his punishment.

So judge thou still, presumptnous; till the wrath,

Whieh thou ineurr'st by flying, meet thy flight

Sevenfold, and seourge that wisdom baek to hell,

Whieh taught thee yet no better, That no pain 0li

Can equal anger infinite provoked.

But wherefore thou alone? wherefore with theo

Came not all hell broke loose? is pain to them

Less pain, less to be fled; or thou than they

Less hardy to endure? Courageous ehief! 0»

The first in flight from pain! hadst thou alleged

To thy deserted host this eause of flight,

Thou surely hadst not eome sole fugitive.

To whieh the fiend thus answer'd, frowning stern:—
Not that I less endure, or shrink from pain, - 02b

Insulting angel! well thou know'st I stood
Thy fiereest; when in battel to thy aid
The blasting vollied thunder made all speed,
And seeonded thy else not dreaded spear,
But still thy words at random, as before, 030
Argue thy inexperienee what behoves
From hard assays and ill sueeesses past
A faithful leader; not to hazard all
Through ways of danger by himself untried:

1 therefore, I alone first undertook 035
To wing the desolate abyss, and spy

This new-ereated world, whereof in hell
Fame is not silent; here in hope to find
Better abode, and my afflieted powers

To settle here on earth, or in mid air; 040

800. And teiit thou ohjzH. fttrcst memy. Miiton often thus nges

004. Tbjutige of what is wue. wlj,'etivew Bk suhMtantives. "The stnsi

027. Thy fi'vrest. that is. iby JirrrtM lde of pnin." "The ttouJ from their

atiaek, or power; or it may menn, ii\y hearts."

Though for possession put to try onee more

What thou and thy gay legions dare against;

Whose easier business were to serve their Lord

High up in heaven, with songs to hymn his throne,

And praetised distanees to eringe, not fight. 9tb

To whom the warriour angel soon replied:—
To say and straight unsay, pretending first
Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy,
Argues no leader, but a liar traeed,

Satan, and eouldst thou faithful add? 0 name, wo

O saered name of faithfulness profaned!

Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious erew?

Army of fiends, fit body to fit head.

Was this your diseipline and faith engaged,

Your military obedienee, to dissolve ess

Allegianee to the aeknowledged Power supremo?

And thou, sly hypoerite, who now wouldst seem

Patron of liberty, who more than thou

Onee fawn'd, and eringed, and servilely adored

Heaven's awful Monareh? wherefore but in hope 0eo

To dispossess him, and thyself to reign?

But mark what I arreed thee now; A vaunt;

Fly thither whenee thou fledst: if from this hour

Within these hallow'd limits thou appear,

Baek to the infernal pit I drag thee ehain'd, 004

And seal thee so, as heneeforth not to seorn

The faeile gates of hell too slightly barr'd.

So threaten'd he: but Satan to no threats
Gave heed, but waxing more in rage replied:—

Then, when I am thy eaptive, talk of ehains, 070
Proud limitary eherub; but ere then
Far heavier load thyself expeet to feel
From my prevailing arm; though heaven's King
Ride on thy wings, and thou with thv eompeers,
Used to the yoke, draw'st his trinmphant wheels 075
In progress through the road of heaven star-paved.

While thus he spake, the angelie squadron bright
Turn'd fiery red, sharpening in mooned horns
Their phalanx, and began to hem him round
With ported spears, as thiek as when a field Bso
Of Ceres, ripe for harvest, waving bends
Her bearded grove of ears, whieh way the wind
Sways them; the eareful plowman doubting stands
Lest on the threshing floor his hopeful sheaves
Prove ehaff. On the other side, Satan, alarm'd, 080
Colleeting all his might, dilated stood,
Like Teneriff or Atlas, unremoved:
His stature reaeh'd the sky, and on his erest
Sat horrour plumed; nor wanted in his grasp

[ocr errors]

What seem'd both spear and shield. Now dreadful deeds <wo

Might have ensued; nor only Paradise

In this eommotion, but the starry eope

Of heaven perhaps, or all the elements

At least had gone to wraek, disturb'd and torn

With violenee of this eonfliet, had not soon 095

The Eternal, to prevent sueh horrid fray,

Hung forth in heaven his golden seales, yet seen

Betwixt Astrea and the Seorpion sign,

Wherein all things ereated first he weigh'd,

The pendulous round earth with balaneed air 1000

In eounterpoise; now ponders all events,

Battels, and realms: in these ho put two weights,

The sequel eaeh of parting and of fight:

The latter quiek upflew and kiek'd the beam;

Whieh Gabriel spying, thus bespake the fiend: 100s

Satan, I know thy strength, and thou know'st mine; Neither our own, but given: what folly then To boast what arms ean do, sinee thine no more Than Heaven permits, nor mine, though doubled now To trample thee as mire! for proof look up, 1010 And read thy lot in yon eelestial sign; Where thou art weigh'd, and shown how light, how weak, If thou resist. The fiend look'd up, and knew His mounted seale aloft: nor more; but fled Murmuring, and with him fled the shades of night. l0li

[ocr errors]


Tnis book eonsists of elements of the same eharaeter and of similar eombinations as the fonrth. Eve's dream, and the manner of relating it, are in a very high degree poetieal: here the invention is perfeet, both in imagery, sentiment, and langnage.

The approaeh of the angel Raphael, as viewed at a distanee by Adam, is designed with all those brilliant eireumstanees, and those undefinable tonehes, whieh give the foree of embodied reality to a vision. Miiton never relates with the artifiees, and attempts to exeite attention, of a teehnieal poet: what he ereates stands before him as life: he does not struggle to embellish or exaggerate, bnt simply relates what he believes that he beholds or hears: bnt none eonld have beheld or heard these high things, exeept one inspired.

The hints of a great part of the ineidents are taken from the 8eriptures; bnt the invention is not on that aeeount the less. To bring the dim general idea into broad light in all its lineaments is the diffieulty, and reqnires the powev.

The eonversation between Raphael and Adam is admirably eontrived on both sides. These argumentative portions of the poem are almost always grand: and poetieal, beeause they are grand. Now and then, indeed, the hard indulges in the display of too mueh abstruse learning pr metaphysieal subtleties.

As to this portion of the work, whieh oeeupies a large spaee, it is less oasy to reeoneile it to the general taste: but we must take it as a part of the two essential divisions of an epie poem—eharaeter and sentiments. Taken by itself, separated from the story, mueh of it would not be poetieal: as part of the story, it is primary essenee. Withont it, mere imagery would lose almost all its dignity, as well as its ins trne tiveness, beeause it wonld lose its intelleetnal and spiritnal eharm.

In relating the eause of 8atan's rebellion, Raphael sustains all the almost unntterable sublimity of his subjeet. The hero is drawn wieked and daring beyond prior eoneeption; but mighty and awful as he is wieked. Langnage to express these high thoughts wonld have sunk before any other genins bnt Milton's: and as he had to eonvey the movements of heavenly spirits by earthly eomparisons, the diffieulty inereased at every step.

To eite detaehed passages from other poets, as eontaining a supposed similitude to Milton, is very fallaeious. These are patehes:—Miiton's is a uniform, elose-wove, massy web of gold. Numerons partieles of the ingredients may be traeed in other anthors: it is the eombination, and the design by whieh that eombination is eondueted, that makes the merit. 8ir Egerton Rbydges.




Mormxg approaehed, Eve relates to Adam her troublesome dream; he likes it not, yet eomforts her: they eome forth to their day-labonrs: their morning hymu at the door of their bowev. God, to render man inexeusable, sends Raphael to admonish him of his obedienee, of his free estate, of his enemy near at hand, who he is, and why bis enemy, and whatever else may avaii Adam to know. Raphael eomes down to Paradise; his appearanee deseribed; his eoming diseerned by Adam afar off, sitting at the door of his bower; be goes ont to meet him, brings him to his lodge, entertains him with the ehoieest frnits of Paradise got together by Eve; their diseourse at table: Raphael performs his message, minds Adnm of his state and of bis enemy; relates, at Adam's reqnest, who that enemy is, and how he enme to be se, beginning from his first revolt in heaven, and the oeeasion thereof; how he drew his legions after him to the parts of the north, and there ineited them to rebel with him, persnading all bnt only Abdiel a seraph, who in argument dissnades and opposes him, then forsakes him.

Now Morn, her rosy steps in tho eastern elime
Advaneing, sow'd the earth with orient pearl,
When Adam waked, so eustom'd; for his sleep
Was aery-light, from pure digestion bred,
And temperate vapours bland, whieh the only sound &
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan,
Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin song
Of birds on every bough: so mueh the more
His wonder was to find unwaken'd Eve
With tresses diseomposed, and glowing eheek, 10
As through unquiet rest: he, on his sido
Leaning half-raised, with looks of eordial love
Hung over her enamour'd, and beheld r
Beauty, whieh, whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peeuliar graees; then with vowe 10
Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
Her hand soft touehing, whisper'd thus: Awake,
My fairest, my espoused, my latest found,
Heaven's last, best gift, my ever new delight!
Awake; the morning shines, and the fresh field 2u
Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark how spring
Our tended plants; how blows the eitron grove,

5. Whieh refers to sleep, whirh wns morning. Aumra't fan, the eauw. ' fot rtlsprrsed only by the soundofisaets and the effeet—the fauning winds of the fuming ritis—raiied fuming from the morning among the leaves, tteam that rteea from the water in the

10 100

« السابقةمتابعة »