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from the position whieh they oeeupy. 8o plaeed, their plaiuness is their strength and their spell: ornamented langnage would have weakened them. Of all styles, the uniformly florid is the most fatigning.
That Milton eonld bring so mueh learning, as well as so mueh imaginative invention, to bear on every, part of his infinitely-extended, yet thiek-eompaeted fable, is truly miraeulous. Were the learning superfieial and loosely applied, the wonder would not be great, or not nearly so great; bnt it is always profonnd, solid, eonseientious; and in its eombinations originai.
Rishop Atterbury has said, in opposition to the general opinion, that the allegory of 8in and Death is one of the finest inventions of tho poem. I agree with him most sineerely. The portress of the gates of heil sits there in a eharaeter, and with a tremendous figure and attribntes, whieh no imagination less gigantie than Miiton's eonld have drawn. Is it to be objeeted that 8in and Death are imaginary persons, when all the persons of the poem, exeept Adam and Eve, are imaginary? Realities, in the striet sense, do not make the most essential parts of poetry.
8in Egebtos Rbydges.
The eharaeter of 8atan is pride and sensnal indulgenee, finding in self the sole motive of aetion. It is the eharaeter so often seen in littlt on the politieal stage. It exhibits all the restlessness, temerity, and euuning, whieh have marked the mighty hunters of mankind, from Nimrod to Napoleon. The eommon faseination of men is, that these great men, as they aro ealled, must aet from some great motive. Milton has earefully marked in his 8atan the intense selfishnoss, tbe aleohol of egotism, whieh would rather reign in hell than serve in heaven. To plaee this lost of self in opposition to denial of self, or dnty, and to show whnt exertions it wonld make, and what pains endure to aeeomplish its end, is Milton's partieular objeet in the eharaeter of 8atan. Rnt around this eharaeter be has thrown a singularity of daring, a grandenr of sufferanee, and a rnined splendour, whieh eonstitnte the very height of poetio sublimity.
Tne eonsultation began, 8atan dehates whether another hattle be to be hasarded for the reeovery of heaven: some advise it, others dissnade. A third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by 8atan, to seareh the trnth of that propheey or tradition in heaven eoneerning another world, and another kind of ereature, eqnal or not mueh inferiour to themselves, abont this time to be ereated: their doubt who shall be sent on this diffieult seareh: 8atan, their ehief, undertakes alone the voyage, is hononred and applauded. The eouneil thus ended, the rest betake them several ways, and to several employments, as their inelinations lead them, to entertain the time tiil 8atan return. He passes on his journey to hell gates; finds them shut, and who sat there to gnard them; by whom at length they are opened, and diseover to him the great gulf between hell and heaven; with what diffieulty he passes through, direeted by Chaos, the Power of that plaee, to the sight of this new world whieh he songht.
Higb on a throne of royal state, whieh far
Powers and Dominions, Deities of heaven,
2. The lsland of Ormus, in the Persian Oulf, was formerly a rust emporinm of 1ndian trade, and eelebrated Ior its wraith and its extended eommeree all offer Asis. II was the eastern eeremony,
at the eoronation of their kings, to powder them with gold-dust and seerfptari. The term harharie is ff'm the Oreek harharikes. appiied by Heredotus to the Persians—0. 8ueau, i . e. had sueeess. *« «
Yielded with full eonsent. The happier state
In heaven, whieh follows dignity, might draw 25
Envy from eaeh inferiour; but who here
Will envy whom the highest plaee exposes
Foremost to stand against the Thunderer's aim,
Your bulwark, and eondemns to greatest share
Of endless pain? Where there is then no good so
For whieh to strive, no strife ean grow up there
From faetion; for none sure will elaim in hell
Preeedenee; none, whose portion is so small
Of present pain, that with ambitious mind
Will eovet more. With this advantage then 35
To union, and firm faith, and firm aeeord,
More than ean be in heaven, we now return
To elaim our just inheritanee of old;
Surer to prosper than prosperity
Could have assured us: and by what best way, 40
Whether of open war or eovert guile,
We now debate. Who ean advise, may speak.
He eeased; and next him Moloeh, seeptred king, Stood up, the strongest and the fiereest spirit That fought in heaven, now fiereer by despair: 45 His trust was with the Eternal to be deem'd Equal in strength, and rather than be less Oared not to be at all: with that eare lost Went all his fear: of God, or hell, or worse, He reek'd not; and these words thereafter spake. 50
My sentenee is for open war: of wiles, More unexpert, I boast not: them let those Contrive who need, or when they need, not now. For while they sit eontriving, shall the rest, Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait 55 The signal to aseend, sit lingering here Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-plaee Aeeept this dark opprobrious den of shame, The prison of his tyrauny who reigns By our delay? no; let us rather ehoose, fu Arm'd with hell flames and fury, all at onee O'er heaven's high towers to foree resistless way, Turning our tortures into horrid arms Against the Torturer; when to meet the noise Of his almighty engine he shall hear C5 Infernal thunder; and for lightuing see Blaek fire and horrour shot with equal rage Among his angels; and his throne itself Mix'd with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire, His own invented torments. But perhaps 70 The way seems diffieult and steep, to seale With upright wing against a higher foe. Let sueh bethink them, if the sleepy dreneh Of that forgetful lake benunuii not still, That in our proper motion we aseend 75
Up to our native seat: deseent and fall
And eaunot eease to be, we are at worst loo
Whieh, if not vietory, is yet revenge. 105
Desperate revenge and battel dangerous
To less than gods. On the other side up rose
Belial, in aet more graeeful and humane:
A fairer person lost not heaven; he seem'd no
For dignity eomposed and high exploit:
But all was false and hollow; though his tongue
Dropp'd mauna, and eould make the worse appear
The better reason, to perplex and dash
Maturest eounsels: for his thoughts were low; 110
To viee industrious, but to nobler deeds
Timorous and slothful: yet he pleased the ear,
And with persuasive aeeent thus began:—
As not behind in hate, if what was urged, 120
8y. Exrreitv. in the sena a of the Latin I metaphorieal or figurative word. ln what utrrtn, "to vex." " to trouble." | then does the beauty ,onsist? Io the
02. Tbpvnantr, to puni.'hment. - justne.-s of the thonght, in the propriety
104. /^,/aJInrnn,\thatis, upheld by fate, of lhe expression, in the art of the lomt0fi. tit endrA frowning, Ae. ''Nobedy 1 position, and in tin' variety of tl,e vend' of any tawte or understanding wiil deny , fieation."—Lond MoNl,onne. Ho means the beantv of the following paragraph, : the whole of iieiialV speeeh, from, the ln the whole of whieh there is not one | 11uth to the 220th iine.
Main reason to persuade immediate war,
Did not dissuade me most, and seem to east
Ominous eonjeeture on the whole sueeess:
When he, who most exeels in faet of arms,
In wkat he eounsels and in what exeels 123
Mistrustful, grounds his eourage on despair
And utter dissolution, as the seope
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge.
First, what revenge? the towers of heaven are fill'd
With armed wateh, that render all aeeess 130
Impregnable: oft on the bordering deep
Eneamp their legions, or with obseure wing
Seout far and wide into the realm of night,
Seorning surprise. Or eould we break our way
By foree, and at our heels all hell should rise 135
With blaekest insurreetion, to eonfound
Heaven's purest light: yet our great Enemy
All ineorruptible would on his throne
Sit unpolluted, and the ethereal mould,
Ineapable of stain, would soon expel l10
Her misehief, and purge off the baser fire,
Vietorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope
Is flat despair: we must exasperate
The Almighty Vietor to spend all his rage,
And that must end us; that must be our eure, 144
To be no more: sad eure! for who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intelleetual being.
Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
To perish rather, swallow'd up and lost
In the wide womb of unereated night, 150
Devoid of sense and motion? and who knows,
Let this be good, whether our angry Foe
Can give it, or will ever? how he ean,
Is doubtful; that he never will, is sure.
Will he, so wise, let loose at onee his ire, 155
Belike through impotenee, or unaware,
To give his enemies their wish, and end
Them in his anger, whom his anger saves
To punish endless? Whereforo eease we then?
Say they who eounsel war;—we are deereed, lt)o
Reserved, and destined to eternal woe;
Whatever doing, what ean we suffer more,
What ean we suffer worse?—Is this then worst,
Thus sitting, thus eonsulting, thus in arms?
What! when we fled amain, pursued and struek 105
With heaven's afflieting thunder, and besought
The deep to shelter us? this hell then seeni'd
A refuge from those wounds: or when we lay
Chain'd on the burning lake? that sure was worse.