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Thus, measuring things in heaven by things on earth,
Whieh would be all his solaee and revenge, 00s
As a despite done against the Most High,
Thee onee to gain eompanion of his woe.
But listen not to his temptations; warn
Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard,
By terrible example, the reward 010
Of disobedienee: firm they might have stood,
Yet fell: remember, and fear to transgress.
693. It is remarkahle with what art and beauty the poet, from tho height and •ubiimity of the rest of the book, deseends here, at the elose of R, Hike the lark from her loftiest notes ln the elonds.) to the most prosaie simpiieity of langnage and ftumbers: a simplieity whieh not only
gives it variety, but the greatest majesty.
000. Be. The eonstruetion reqnire! A,m. Or we mar understand it as, Jit it is who envies, Ae .
000. Tky woeakev. I Peter iii. ',.
REMARKS ON BOOK V1I.
Tnb seventh book is nothing bnt delight;—all beauty, and hope, and smiies: it has little of the awful sublimity of the preeeding booke: and it has mueh less of that grand invention, whieh sometimes astonishes with a painful emotion, bnt whieh is the first power of a poet: at the same time, there is poetieal invention in filling up the details.
In every deseription Hilton has seised the most pieturesqne feature, and fonnd the most expressive and poetieal words for it. On the mirror of his mind all ereation was delineated in the elearest and most brilliant forms and eolonrs; and he has refleeted them with sueh harmony and enehantment of langnage as has never been eqnalled.
The globe with all its rieh eontents thus lies displayed before us, like a landseape under the freshness of the dewy light of the opening morning, when the shadows of night first fly away.
Here is to be found every thing whieh in deseriptive poetry has the greatest spell: all majesty or graee of forms, animate or inanimate; all variety of monntains, and valleys, and forests, and plains, and seas, and lakes, and rivers; the vieissitudes of suns and of darkness; the flame and the snow; the murmur of the breeze; the roar of the tempest .
One great business of poetry is to teaeh men to see, and feel, and think upon the beauties of the ereation, and to have gratitude and devotion to their Maker: this ean best be effeeted by a poet's eye and a poet's tongne. Poets ean present things in lights whieh ean warm the eoldest hearts: he who ean ereate himself, ean best represent what is already ereated.—8ir Egervon Rrydges.
In the seventh book the author appears in a kind of eomposed and sedate majesty; and thongh the sentiments do not give so great an emotion as those in the former book, they abound with magnifieent ideas. The sixth book, like a troubled oeean, represents greatuess in eonfusion; the seventh affeets the imagination like the oeean in a ealm; and fills the mind of the reader, withont produeing in it any thing like tumult or agitation.
In this book, whieh gives us an aeeonnt of the six days' work, the poet reeeived bnt very few assistanees from heathen writers, who were strangers to the wonders of ereation: but, as there are many glorious strokes of poetry upon this subjeet in Holy Writ, the anthor has numberless allusions to them through the whole eonrse of this book. The great eritie, Longinus, though a heathen, has taken notiee of the sublime manner in whieh the lawgiver of the Jews has deseribed the ereation in the first book of Genesis: and there are many other passages in 8eripture, whieh rise up to the same majesty, where this subjeet is touehed upon. Milton has shown bis judgment very remarkably in making use of sueh of these as were proper for his poem; and in duly qnalifying those high strains of Eastern poetry, whieh were snited to readers, whose imaginations were set to a higher piteh than those of eolder elimates.
Adam's speeeh to the angel, where he desires an aeeount of what passed within the regions of nature before the ereation, is very great and solemu. The lines, in whieh he tells that the day is not too far spent for him to enter upon sueh a subjeet, are exquisite in their kind, v. 08.
The angel's eneouraging our first parents in a modest pursuit after knowledge, and the eauses whieh he assigns for the ereation of the world, are very just and beantifui. The Messiah, by whom, as we are told in 8eripture, the heavens were made, eomes forth in the power of his Father, surrounded with a host of angels, and elothed with sueh a majesty, as beeomes his entering upon a work, whieh, aeeording to onr eoneeptions, appears the ntmost exertion of Omuipotenee. What a beautiful deseription has our anthor raised upon that hint in one of the prophets! "And behold there eame four ehariots ont from between two mountains, and the monntains were mountains of brass :"—
Abont his ehariots numberless were ponr'd, Ae .
I do not know any thing in the whole poem more sublime than the deseription whieh follows; where the Messiah is represented at the head of his angels, as looking down into the ehaos, ealming its eonfusion, riding into the midst of it, and drawing the Iirst outline of the ereation.
The beanties of deseription in this book lie so very thiek, that it is impossible to enumerate them in these remarks. The poet has employed on them the whole energy of our tongne: the several great seenes of the ereation rise up to view, one after another, in sueh a mauner, that the reader seems present at this wonderful work, and to assist among the ehoirs of angels, who are the speetators of it . How glorious is the eonelusion of lhe first day! v. 2;)2, Ae. We have the same elevation of thought in the third day, when the monntains were brought forth, and the deep was made: we have also the rising of the whole vegetable world deseribed in this day's work, whieh is filled with all the graees that other poets have lavished on their deseription of the spring, and leads the reader's imagination into a theatre eqnally surprising and beautifui. The several glories of the heavens make their appearanees on the fourth day.
One wonld wonder bow the poet eould be so eoneise in his deseription of tho six days' work, as to eomprehend them wUhin the bonnds of an episode: and, at the same time, so partieular, as to give us a lively idea of them. This is still more remarkable in his aeeount of the fifth and sixth days, in whieh he has drawn ont to onr view the whole animal ereation, from the reptile to the behemoth. As the lion and the leviathan are two of the noblest produetions in the world of living ereatures, the reader will find a most exqnisite spirit of poetry in the aeeount whieh onr anthor gives us of them. The sixth day eoneludes with the formation of man; upon whieh, the angel takes oeeasion, as he did after the hattle in heaven, to remind Adam of his obedienee, whieh was the prineipal design of his visit .
The poet afterwards represents the Messiah returning into heaven and taking a survey of his great work. There is something inexpressibly sublime in this part of the poem, where the author deseribes the great period of time filled with so many glorious eireumstanees; when the heavens and earth were finished; when the Messiah aseended up in trinmph through the everlasting gates; when he looked down with pleasure upon his new ereation; when every part of nature seemed to rejoiee in its existenee; "when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of Ood shonted for joy."—Addison.
Rapnael, at the reqnest of Adam, relates how and wherefore this world was first ereated; that God, after the expelling of 8atan and his angels oat of heaven, deelared his pleasure to ereate another world, and other ereatures to dwell therein; sends his 8on with glory, and attendanee of angels, to perform the work of ereation in six days; the angels eelebrate with hymns the performanee thereof, and his rooseension into heaven.
Deseend from heaven, Urania, by that name
The meaning, not the name, I eall: for thou i
Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top
Of old Olympus dwell'st; but, heavenly-born,
Before the hills appear'd, or fountain flow'd,
Thou with Eternal Wisdom didst eonverse,
Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play 10
In presenee of the Almighty Father, pleased
With thy eelestial song, l/p-led by thee,
Into the heaven of heavens 1 have presumed,
An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air,
Thy tempering: with like safety guided down, is
Return me to my native element;
Lest from this flying steed uuroin'd, (as onee
Bellerophon, though from a lower elime)
Dismounted, on the Aleian field I fall,
Erroneous there to wander, and forlorn. 30
Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound
Within the visible dinrnal sphere:
Standing on earth, not rapt above the pole,
More safe I sing with mortal voiee, unehanged
To hoarse or mute, though fallen on evil days, 25
1. Vranta. Heavenly; thus here, as in the opening of the poem, he invokes the "heavenly muse.''
8. 8ee Prov. viiL 24, 25, 30.
10. Aleian field. This was a traet of eountry in Ciiieia, f Asia Minov.1 east of the river 8arus. lwhieh is the river next east to the Cydnus, on whieh was Tarsus1 where Bellerophon was fabled to havo been tbrown from his horse Pegasus, and to have perished.
21 Half yet, 4e . That is, half of the
episede, whieh eonsists of two parts, the war in heaven, and the new ereation: the latter is eonfined to a narrower eompass, and bound within the visible sphere of ,lay.
25. Thongh fallen, 4e. The repetition and turn of the words is very beantiful: a iively pieture this, in a few iines, of the poet's wretehed eondition. Thongh he was biind, "'ln darkness; and with damters eo,npass',i round, and soiitnde," obnonious to the government, and hav' On evil days though fallen, and evil tongues;
In darkness, and with dangers eompass'd round,
And solitude; yet not alone, while thou
Visit'st my slumbers nightly, or when morn
Purples the east: still govern thou my song, so
Urania, and fit audienee find, though few:
But drive far off the barbarous dissonanee
Of Baeehus and his revellers, the raee
Of that wild rout that tore the Thraeian bard
In Khodope, where woods and roeks had ears »
To rapture, till the savage elamour drown'd
Both harp and voiee; nor eould the Muse defend
Her son. So fail not thou, who thee implores:
For thou art heavenly, she an empty dream.
Say, goddess, what ensued, when Raphael, 40
And war so near the peaee of God in bliss, to
With sueh eonfusion: but the evil, soon
Driven baek, redounded as a flood on those
From whom it sprung; impossible to mix
With blessedness. Whenee Adam 8oon repeal'd
The doubts that in his heart arose; and now eo
Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know
What nearer might eoneern him; how this world
Of heaven and earth eonspienous first began;
When, and whereof ereated; for what eause;
What within Eden, or without, was done to
Before his memory: as one, whose drouth
Yet searee allay'd, still eyes the eurrent stream,
Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst exeites,
Proeeeded thus to ask his heavenly guest: