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Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
Requantity of Allables, and the sense fure, and the country is fuppofed variously drawn out from one verfe to be the same that was afterinto another.
wards called Mesopotamia ; parti1. Of Man's first disobedience,-] cularly by our author in IV. 210. Muve aude. Iliad.
&c. Here the whole is put for a
part, as sometimes a part for the Apd pe LOL SPVETE, Odyfl.
whole, by a figure called Synec. Arma virumque cano. Æneid. doche. In all these instances, as in Milton, 4. till one greater Man the subject of the poem is the very Restore us, and regain the blissful first thing offer'd to us, and pre- seat,] As it is a greater Man, cedes the verb with which it is con- so it is a happier Paradise which nected. It must be confessed that our Saviour promis'd to the peni. Horace did not regard this, when tent thief, Luke XXIII. 43. This he translated the first line of the day shalt thou be with me in Para. Odyssey, Dic mihi Musa virum,&c. dife. But Milton had a notion that De Art. Poet. 141. And Lucian, after the conflagration and the ge. if I remember right, makes a jeft neral judgment the whole Earth of this observation, where he in- would be made a Paradise, XII. 463. troduces the shade of Homer as for then the Earth expressly declaring that he had no Shall all be Paradise, far happies other reason for making the word
place umpay the first in his poem, but Than this of Eden, and far hap. that it was the first which came in pier days. to his head. However the uniform practice of Homer, Virgil, and
It should seem that the author, Milton in this particular, seems to "peaking here of
me to speaking here of regaining the blissprove that it was not accidental. ful seat, had at this time formed but a thing really design'd by them. lome delign of his poem of Para. 4. With lots of Eden But Eden dife Regain'd. But however that was not loft, and the last that we be, in the beginning of that poem tead of our first parents is that
he manifestly alludes to the beginthey were still in Eden,
ning of this, and there makes Pa
radise to be regain'd by our Sa*Through Eden took their folitary viour's foiling the tempter in the 'way.
wilderness. With loss of Eden therefore means I who ere-while the happy garden no more than with lofs of Paradise, sung, which was planted in Eden, which By one Man's disobedience lost, word Edon signifies delight or plea: now fing
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat, ."
Recover'd Paradise to all mankind, it is not Milton's fense) the top of By one Man's firm obedience fully it may be well said to be secret. In try'd,
Exod. XVII. it is faid that the IfAnd Éden rais'd in the waste wil- raelites, when incamp'd at the foot derness,
of Horeb, could find no water ;
from whence Dr. Bentley con6. — that on the secret top c ludes, that Horeb had no clouds Of Oreb, or of Sinai,
or mists about its top; and that Dr. Bentley says that Milton dicta. therefore fecret top cannot be here ted sacred top: his reasons are such meant as implying that bigh moun as follow : The ground of Horeb tains against rainy weather have their is said to be boly, Exod. III. 5. and heads surrounded with mifts. I den Horeb is called the mountain of God, ver thought that any reader of Mil· Kings XIX. 8. But it may be an- ton would have understood fecret fwer'd, that tho' that place of Ho- top in this sense. The words of reb, on which Mofes ftood, was Horeb or of Sinai imply a doubt of boly, it does not follow that the top the poet, which name was proof the mountain was then holy too: pereft to be given to that mountain, and by the mountain of God (Dr. on the top of which Moses receiv'd Bentley knows) may be meant only, his inspiration; becaufe Horeb and in the Jewish ftile, a very great Sinai are used for one another in mountain: Besides let the moun- Scripture, as may be seen by comtain be never fo boly, yet according paring Exod. III. 1. with Ads VII. to the rules of good poetry, when 30. but by naming Sinai laft, he Milton fpeaks of the top of the feems to incline rather to that. mountain, he should give us an epi- Now it is well known from Exod. thet peculiar to the top only, and XIX. 16. Ecclus. XLV. 5. and not to the whole mountain. Dr. other places of Scripture, that Bentley says farther that the epithet when God gave his laws to Moses secret will not do here, because the on the top of Sinai, it was cover'd top of this mountain is visible se- with clouds, dark clouds, and thick veral leagues off. But Sinai and fmoke; it was therefore secret at that Horeb are the same mountain, with time in a peculiar sense: and the two several eminences, the higher same thing seems intended by the of them called Sinai: and of Sinai epithet which our poet uses upon the Josephus in his Jewish Antiquit. very same occasion in XII. 227. Book 3. Chap. 5. says that it is so bigb, that the top of it cannot be God from the mount of Sinai, whose feen without ftraining the eyes. In gray top this sense cherefore (tho' I believe Shall tremble, he descending, &c.
hould conguageing the one Sacred
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
10 Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd
Falt Dr. Bentley shows that facred hill proach, and not to ascend it, nor is common among the poets in se- pass the bounds set for them upon veral languages; from whence I pain of death. Exod. XIX. So that should conclude that facred is a ge. upon all accounts secret is the most neral epithet: whereas secret, in proper epithet, that could have the sense which I have given it, is been cholen. the most peculiar one that can be: 8. That Shepherd, who firft &c.] and therefore (to use Dr. Bentley's For Moses kept the flock of Jetbre words) if, as the beft poets have ad. bis father-in-law. Exod. III. 1. judgd, a proper epithet is to be pre- And he is very properly said to ferr'd to a general one, I have such have first taught the chosen seed, bean efteem for our poet, that which of ing the most ancient writer among the two words is the better, That I the Jews, and indeed the most anfay (viz. fecret) was dietated by cient that is now extant in the Milton. Pearce.
world. · We have given this excellent 9. In the beginning how the Heav'rs note at length, as we have met and Earth] Alluding to the with several persons who have ap. first words of Genesis. proved of Dr. Bentley's emenda. 11. and Siloa's brook] Siloa was zion. It may be too that the poet a small river that flowd near the had a farther meaning in the use of temple at Jerusalem. It is menthis epithet in this place; for being tion'd Isai. VIII. 6. So that in ef. accustomed to make use of words fect he invokes the heavenly Muse, in the fignification that they bear that inspir'd David and the Proin the learned languages, he may phets on mount Sion, and at Jeruvery well be supposed to use the salem, as well as Moses on mount word secret in the same sense as the Sinai. Latin secretus, fet apart or separate, 15. Above th' Aonian mount,] A like the secretofque pios in Virgil, poetical expression for foaring to a Æn. VIII. 670. and it appears highth above other poets. The from Scripture, that while Moses mountains of Bæotia, anciently was with God in the mount, the called Aonia, were the haunt of people were not to come near it or the Muses, and thus Virgil, Ecl. touch it, till after a signal given, VI. 65. and then they were only to ap
Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
And Aonas in montes ut duxerit una fo. It is evident enough that by rorum,
rbime in this place is meant verse And again Georg. III. 11. .
in general; but I suppose Milton
thought it would found too low Aonio rediens deducam vertice Mu- and familiar to the ear to say in fas;
prose or verse, and therefore chose though afterwards. I know not by rather to say in prose or rhime. what fatality, that country was fa.
entry was fa. When he says in profe or verse, he mous for the dulness of its inha. adds an epithet to take off from bitants.
the commonness of the expreslion,
as in V. 150. 16. Things unattempted yet in profe
such prompt eloquence or rbime.] Milton appears to Flow'd from their lips, in prose or have meant a different thing by
numerous verse. rbime here, from rime in his preface, where it is fix times men- It is said that Milton took the first tion'd, and always spellid without hint of this poem from an Italian an h; whereas in all the editions, tragedy called Il Paradiso perso; and till Dr. Bentley's appear'd, rhime it is pretended that he has borin this place of the poem was row'd largely from Masenius, a spelld with an b. Milton pro- German Jefuit, and other modern bably meant a difference in the authors; but it is all a pretence, thing, by making so constant a dif- he made use of all authors, such ference in the Spelling; and in- was his learning; but such is his tended that we should here under- genius, he is no copyer, his poem ftand by rbime, not the jingling is plainly an original, if ever there found of like endings, but verse in was one. His subject indeed of general; the word being deriv'd the fall of Man together with the from rythmus, 'puQrios. Ariosto principal episodes may be said to had said
be as old as Scripture, but his manCosa, non detta in trofa mai. ne ner of handling them is entirely in rima,
new, with new illustrations and new
beauties of his own; and he may which is word for word the same as justly boast of the novelty of his with what Milton says here. Pearce. poem, as any of the ancient poets VOL. I.
And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that doft prefer
bestow that recommendation upon This address therefore is no more their works; as Lucretius I. 925. formality. Yet some may think
that he incurs a worse charge of Avia Pieridum peragro loca, nul- enthusiasm, or even profaneness in lius ante
vouching inspiration for his perTrita solo : &c.
formance : but the Scriptures re
'.. . present inspiration as of a much and Virgil Georg. III. 3. . . larger extent than is commonly apCætera quæ vacuas tenuissent car- prehended, teaching that every good mina mentes
gift, in naturals as well as in moOmnia jam vulgata.
ral, defcendeth from the great Fat ber Primus ego in patriam &c. of lights, Jam. I. 17. And an ex. 292. — Juvat ire jugis, quà nul- traordinary kill even in mechaniÍa priorum
cal arts is there ascribed to the ilCaftaliam molli divertitur orbita lumination of the Holy Ghoft. It clivo.
is said of Bezaleël who was to
make the furniture of the taber17. And chiefly Thou, O Spirit,
nacle, that the Lord had filled bim &c.] Invoking the Muse is
with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, commonly a matter of mere form, wherein the poets neither mean, and in all manner of workmantin,
in understanding, and in knowledge, nor desire to be thought to mean“
main and to devise curious works, &c. any thing seriously. But the Holy Exod. XXXV. 31. Heylin. Ghost here invok'd is too solemn a
1. It may be observed too in justificaname to be used insignificantly:
27. tion of our author, that other faand besides our author, in the be
:cred poems are not without the like ginning of his next work Paradise
ne invocations, and particularly SpenRegain'd, scruples not to say to the
ser's Hymns of Heavenly Love
end fame divine person
and Heavenly Beauty, as well as - Inspire,
some modern Latin poems. But I As thou art wont, my prompted conceive that Milton intended fong, elle mute,
something more, for I have been