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Her loveliness, so absolute she seems,
To whom the angel with contracted brow:
drawing the character of our first pa- passage is exquisitely delightful, and
By which to heavenly love thou mayst ascend,
To whom thus, half abash'd, Adam replied:
To whom the angel, with a smile that glow'd
thou wert created,) we enjoy
598, Genial bed. “Milton had before and again to me, variously, from the difapplied the epithet mysterious' to mar- ferent senses, am not on that account riage, by which he means something not.foiled, or baffled or confounded in my proper to be divulged, but to be revered judgment, but feel that I am still free to like the mysteries." -NEWTON. The word approve of the best, and to follow what “procreation" is to be supplied before the I approve. preposition “of.”
630. The conversation was now become 007. Subject not: Bring me not under of such a nature, that it was proper to subjection.
put an end to it; and he very properly 610. Representing. The difficulty of this closes his discourse with those moral inpassage vanishes when we make this a structions which should make the most compound word, te presenting, and giving lasting impression on the mind of Adam, to re its original force of “again." As and to deliver which was the principal if he had said: I who meet with the vari-end and design of the angel's coming.ous objects that present themselves again 631. Green cape, Cape de verd.
Hesperian, sets; my signal to depart.
So saying, he arose; whom Adam thus
So parted they; the angel up to heaven
637. Admit: In the sense of the Latin admitto, "to commit."
REMARKS ON BOOK IX.
The ninth book is raised upon that brief account in Scripture, wherein we are told that the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field; that he tempted the woman to eat of the forbidden tree; that she was overcome by this temptation; and that Adam followed her example. From these few particulars Milton has formed one of the most entertaining fables that invention ever produced: he has disposed of these several circumstances among so many agreeable and natural fictions of his own, that his whole story looks only like a comment upon Sacred Writ, or rather seems to be a full and complete relation of what the other is only an epitome. I have insisted the longer on this consideration, as I look upon the disposition and contrivance of the fable to be the principal beauty of the ninth book, which has more story in it, and is fuller of incidents than any other in the whole poem. Satan's traversing the globe, and still keeping within the shadow of the night, as fearing to be discovered by the angel of the sun, who had before detected him, is one of those beautiful imaginations with which he introduces this his second series of adventures. Having examined the nature of every creature, and found out one who was the most proper for his purpose, he again returns to Paradise; and, to avoid discovery, sinks by night with a river that ran under the garden, and rises up again through a fountain that issued from it by the Tree of Life. He is then described as gliding through the garden, under the resemblance of a mist, in order to find out that creature in which he designed to tempt our first parents. This description has something in it very poetical and surprising.
The author afterwards gives us a description of the morning, which is wonderfully suitable to a divine poem, and peculiar to that first season of nature. He represents the earth, before it was cursed, as a great altar, breathing out its incense from all parts, and sending up a pleasant savour to the nostrils of its Creator; to which he adds a noble idea of Adam and Eve, as offering their morning worship, and filling up the universal concert of praise and adoration.
The subtle wiles which are put in practice by the tempter, when he found Eve separated from her husband,- the many pleasing images of Dature which are intermixed in this part of the story, with its gradual and regular progress to the fatal catastrophe,—are so very remarkable, that it would be superfluous to point out their respective beauties.
That secret intoxication of pleasure, with all those transient flushings of guilt and joy, which the poet represents in our first parents upon their eating the forbidden fruit, to those flaggings of spirit, damps of sorrow, and mutual accusations which succeed it, are conceived with a wonderful imagination, and described in very natural sentiments. When Dido, in the fourth Æneid, yielded to that fatal temptation which ruined her, Virgil tells us, the earth trembled, the heavens were filled with flashes of lightning, and the nymphs howled upon the mountain-tops. Milton, in the same poetical spirit, bas described all nature upon Eve's eating the forbidden fruit: upon Adam's falling into the same guilt, the whole creation appears a second time in convulsions. As all nature suffered by the guilt of our first parents, these symptoms of trouble and consternation are wonderfully imagined, not only as prodigies, but as marks of her sympathizing in the fall of man.-Addison.
The ninth book is that on which the whole fate and fall of man turns; and so far is the most important. It is called the most tender. If the submission to sensual human passions be tenderness, it is so; taking the resistance to those passions to be loftiness. The serpent himself appears to have been enamoured of Eve's beauty and loveliness of mien, and for a moment to have repented of the evil he was plotting to bring upon her.
The descriptive parts glow with a uniform freshness, splendour, and nature ; with a compactness of imagery, and a simple and naked force of language, which make all pictures of other poets fade away before them. There never appears a superfluous word, or one which is not pregnant with thought and matter.
The sentiments bave a weight and a profundity of wisdom which seem like inspiration : out of every incident arise such reflections as have the spell of oracles.
All that we know from the Mosaic history is, that the serpent tempted Eve, and Eve tempted Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit; but we do not know by what wiles this sin was brought about. We may suppose that by the serpent the operation of the evil passions of contradiction, disobe. dience, rebellion, and skepticism was meant; just as we may suppose that Eve persisted in roaming alone in spite of Adam's dissuasions, merely because her pride was thwarted by her husband's fear that “somo harm should befall her” in his absence.
Critics will say, that had she been more purely virtuous, Heaven would not have decreed the loss of Paradise; and therefore that it was of the essence of the story to represent her thus guilty. It may be deemed highly presumptuous in me to suggest that Milton might have represented her equally guilty, with more probability and more spiritu. ality. He might have painted mental delusions rather than the intoxi. cating pleasures of the senses: it was open to him to follow his own course in the inventions of his overflowing imagination ; but it could never be necessary to Milton's genius to dwell on matter rather than on spirit. The luxuriance of description has made this a favourite book of the poem: it is this luxuriance which I think misplaced in so holy a work.--Sir EGERTON BRYDGES.