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And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,
Blind Melesigenes, thenee Homer eall'd,
Whose poem Phoebus ehallenged for his own: wo
Thenee what the lofty grave tragedians taught
In ehorus or iambiek, teaehers best
Of moral prudenee, with delight reeeived
In brief sententious preeepts, while they treat
Of fate, and ehanee, and ehange in human life, 200
High aetions and high passions best deseribing;
Thenee to the famous orators repair,
Those aneient, whose resistless eloquenee
Wielded at will that fieree demoeratie,
Shook the arsenal, and fulmined over Greeee 270
To Maeedon and Artaxerxes' throne:
To sage Philosophy next lend thine ear,
From Heaven deseended to the low-roof'd house
Of Soerates; see there his tenement,
Whom well inspired the oraele pronouneed 275
Epieurean, and the Stoiek severe. 280
To whom our Saviour sagely thus replied: 285
of Mitylene ln Lesbos, an talund of the 1 Atoiians. Dorv,n: the edes of Pimiae.
250. Melesigenet. .Miiton here follows the opinion of some, that Homer was born near the Meles, a river of Asia Minor, near 8myrns.
201. Tragedy uas termed lofty by the aneients, frnm its style, but at the same time not withont a referenee to the eleveted buskin whieh the aetors wore.
2tJ2. Chorus or laml-iek. The two eonstitnent parts of the aneient tragedy were—the dialogoe, written ln lambieXmen sure, and the CBorus, whieh eonsisted of various measures. The eharaeter here given by our author of the aneient tragedy, is very just and noble; and the Engiish reader eaunot form a better idea of it in its highest bennty and perfeetion, than by reading our anthor's "t-a,n."ou Agonlstes."—Nbwton.
271. As Perleles and others fulwined over Greeee to Artarerres' tbronr, against the Persian king, so Demosthenes was the orator partieularly who Jiel mined over Greeee to Maeedot,. against Phiiip; esIwy elally when he was besieging Olynthus, | a tribntary eity of Athens. Henee some'
of his orations are ealled u Phiiippies"
and others '' Olynthiaes."
278. Old and new. The aeadendek seet of Phiiosophers, iike the Greek eomedy, hnd its tbree epoebs—old, ndddle, and new. Plato was at the head of the old aeademy, Areesiias of the ndddle, and Carneades of the new.—Duxster.
283. Thesc rules: Rather, their rules; or the word these may refer )o iine 204— to the brief sententious preeepts.
2fto. 7b whom. Ae. This auswer of onr 8aviour is as mueh to be admired for soiid reasoning, and the many subiime i truth" eontained in it, as the preeeding I spee,h of Satan is for that floe vein of 1 poetry whieh runs tbrongh it. And we - may observe in general, that Miiton has : qnite, tbroughont this work, tbrown the 1 ornament.- of poetry on the side of error, whether it was that he thonght great trutbs be,t expressed in a grave, unaffeeted style, or intended to snggest thia fine moral to the reader—that simple, naked truth wiil always 1a an over-mateh for falsehoed, thongh reeommended by I the gayest rbetortek and adorned with ! the most bewltt lung eolours.—Tuyer.
Light from above, from the fountain of light,
No other doetrine needs, though granted true; 200
But these are false, or little else but dreams,
Conjeetures, faneies, built on nothing firm.
The first and wisest of them all profess'd
To know this only, that he nothing knew;
The next to fabling fell, and smooth eoneeits; M
A third sort doubted all things, though plain sense:
Others in virtue plaeed felieity,
But virtue join'd with riehes and long life;
In eorporal pleasure he, and eareless ease:
The Stoiek last in philosophiek pride, too
By him eall'd virtue; and his virtnous man,
Wise, perfeet in himself, and all possessing
Equal to God, oft shames not to prefer,
As fearing God nor man, eontemning all
Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life, 305
Whieh, when he lists, he leaves, or boasts he ean,
For all his tedious talk is but vain boast,
Or subtle shifts eonvietion to evade.
Alasl what ean they teaeh, and not mislead,
Ignorant of themselves, of God mueh more, 810
And how the world began, and how man fell
Degraded by himself, on graee depending?
Mueh of the soul they talk, but all awry,
And in themselves seek virtue, and to themselves
All glory arrogate, to God give none; 810
Bather aeeuse nim under usual names,
Fortune and Fate, as one regardless quite
Of mortal things. Who therefore seeks in these
True wisdom, finds her not; or, by delusion,
Far worse, her false resemblanee only meets, 320
An empty eloud. However, many books,
Wise men have said, are wearisome: who reads
Ineessantly, and to his reading brings not
A spirit and judgment equal or superiour,
lAnd what he brings what need he elsewhere seek?) 325
Uneertain and unsettled still remains,
Deep versed in books, and shallow in himself,
Crude or intoxieate, eolleeting toys
And trifles for ehoiee matters, worth a sponge;
As ehildren gathering pebbles on the shore. 330
Or, if I would delight my private hours
With musiek or with poem; where, so soon
As in our native language, ean I find
203. The first: 8orrates. The next: | 327. Deep versed, Ae.
Plato, whom our author, in one of his Knowledge i, proud tBat he hu leara'd ,o
Latin poems, terms "fabulator maxi- moeB;
m,ls." Wisdom is Bumble tBat Be knows no more.
200. A third tart: 8oeptieks. the disei- Omptr.
pies of Pyrrbe. Otbers: the Platonieks I 320. Wnrth a sponge. As the sponge la
and PeripateGeks. used for blotting out, so uoortl, a sponge
200. In eorporal pleasure he: Epieunu. iiterally moans not worth preaerv ing,
That solaee? All our law and story strew'd
With hymns, our psalms with artful terms inseribed, SS8
Our Hebrew songs and harps, in Babylon
That pleased so well our vietors' ear, deelare
That rather Greeee from us these arts derived;
111 imitated, while they loudest sing
The viees of their deities, and their own, 340
In fable, hymn, or song, so personating
Their gods ridieulous, and themselves past shame.
Remove their swelling epithets, thiek laid
As varnish on a harlot's eheek; the rest.
Thin sown with aught of profit or delight,' 345
Will far be found unworthy to eompare
With Sion's songs, to all true tastes exeelling,
Where God is praised aright, and godlike men,
The Holiest of Holies, and his saints,
lSueh are from God inspired, not sueh from thee,) 850
Unless where moral virtue is express'd
By light of Nature, not in all quite lost.
Their orators thou then extoll'st, as those
The top of eloquenee; statists indeed,
And lovers of their eountry, as may seem; 355
But herein to our prophets far beneath,
As men divinely taught, and better teaehing
The solid rules of eivil government,
In their majestiek unaffeeted style,
Than all the oratory of Greeee and Rome. 380
So spake the Son of God: but Satan, now 305
Sinee neither wealth nor honour, arms nor arts,
341. Personating: To eelebrate londly; from the Latin persons.
340. Wiil far be found, 4e . Undoubtedly these were Miiton'8 own sentiments, thongh deiivered in an assumed eharaetev. II must, however, bo observed, that Cbrist is here answering 8atan's speeeh, and eonnteraeting his exqnisito panegyriek on the phiiosophers, poets, and
orators of Athens. Yet at the same time
Whieh would have set thee in short time with ease
On David's throne, or throne of all the world,
Now at full age, fulness of time, thy season, 880
When propheeies of thee are best fullilled.
Now eontrary, if I read aught in heaven,
Or heaven write aught of fate, by what the stars
Voluminous, or single eharaeters,
In their eonjunetion met, give me to spell; 3M
Sorrows, and labours, opposition, hate
Attend thee, seorns, reproaehes, injuries,
Violenee and stripes, and lastly eruel death:
A kingdom they portend thee; but what kingdom,
Real or allegonek, I diseern not; 800
Nor when; eternal sure, as without end,
Without beginning; for no date preflx'd
Direets me in the starry rubriek set.
So saying, he took, lfor still he knew his power
Sat'st unappall'd in ealm and sinless peaee!
Fair morning yet betides thee, Son of God,
427. Amiee Gray: Front the Latin awieir>, to elothe. The eombination awiee gray. is from what is ealled grains awielust a gray habit worn by eeelesiasties and piigrims.
432. And no,o the mn, Ae. "There 1n, in this deseription, all the bloom of Miiton's youthful faney."—Tans. "II is impossible to forbear remarking that this deseription exhibits some of the finest
iines whieh Miiton has written in all his
440. I)t won1ed shape: That is, ln his own proper shape, and under no disgnise.
407. Did 1 not tell tbet, 4e . Here is something to be understoed: the thing told, we may suppose to be what 8atan had before said, iii. 351—
vby kingdom tBough foretold
8y propBet or by angel, unless thou