« VorigeDoorgaan »
Moses apoloyucel, recounting how he assumed his true body; that it corrupts not, because it is with God in the mount ; declares the like of Enoch and Eliah ; besides the purity of the place, that certain pure winds, dews, and clouds, preserve it from corruption ; whence exhorts to the sight of God; tells they cannot see Adam in the state of innocence, by reason of their sin.
debating what should become of man, if he fall.
CHORUS OF ANGELS, singing a hymn of the Creation.
CHORUS, sing the marriage-song, and describe Paradise.
Lucifer contriving Adam's ruin.
CONSCIENCE cites them to God's examination.
ADAM and EVE driven out of Paradise.
presented by an Angel with
To whom he gives their names, likewise
Such was Milton's first design, in which most of the supernatural personages of Paradise Lost are replaced by allegorical ones. Lucifer, in the tragedy, projects the ruin of Adam, as Satan contrives it in the poem ; but all the great scenes in hell are suppressed, as well as those in Heaven; here are not displayed the councils, held in the Abyss; we hear not the oracles of the Father, the speeches of the Son on the Sacred Mountain. The Drama could not have admitted these developments of the Epopee. The Chorus relates the rebellion and fall of Lucifer; but it is evident that this could only have been done in a very brief way; not in a long recital, like that of Raphael. In the tragedy, Heavenly Love and the Evening Star sing the nuptial song; in the
poem, the bard himself does so.
One may regret the song of the Star, and imagine its beauty. But Milton could do nothing without evincing genius. Witness this remarkable point thrown into a simple note. The angel presents to Adam after his fall all the calamities of earth, from Toil to Death.
Adam, the sinner, names them, as, in his days of innocence, he had given names to the innocent animals of the Creation. This sublime Allegory is not to be found in “ Paradise Lost.”
FURTHER PARTICULARS CONCERNING
The bard of Eden said that a poet “ought to be himself a true poem ;” that is, a model of the best and most honourable qualities.
Milton rose at four in the morning during summer, and at five in the winter. He wore almost invariably a dress of coarse grey cloth ; studied till noon, dined frugally, walked with a guide, and, in the evening, sung, accompanying himself on some instrument. He understood harmony, and had a fine voice. He for a long time addicted himself to the practice of fencing. To judge by Paradise Lost, he must have been passionately fond of music and the perfume of flowers. He supped off five or six olives and a little water, retired to rest at nine, and composed at night, in bed. When he had made some verses, he rung, and dictated to his wife or daughters. On sunny
days he sat on a bench at his door; he lived in Artillery Walk, leading to Bunhill Fields.
From without, insults were heaped on this the sick and forsaken lion. These lines were addressed to him, headed “Upon John Milton's not suffering for his Traitorous Book, when the Tryers were executed, 1660 :"
“That thou escap'dst that vengeance which o'ertook,
Milton, thy regicides, and thy own book,
They reproached him with his age, his ugliness, his small stature, and applied to him this verse of Virgil :
Monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens, cui lumen
observing that the word ingens was the only one which did not apply to his person.
He had the simplicity to reply (Defensio Autoris) that he was poor because he had never enriched himself; that he was neither large nor small; that at no age had he been considered ugly; that in youth, with a sword by his side, he had never feared the bravest.