« VorigeDoorgaan »
- Back from pursuit thy Pow'rs with loud acclame:
Thee only' extoll'd, Son of thy Father's might, To execute fierce vengeance on his foes, 399 Not so on Man: Him through their malice fall’n, Father of mercy' and grace, thou didst not doom So strictly, but much more to pity' incline : No sooner did thy dear and only Son Perceive thee purpos'd not to doom frail Man So strictly, but much more to pity' inclin’d, 405 He to appease thy wrath, and end the strife Of mercy' and justice in thy face discern’d, Regardless of the bliss wherein he fat Second to thee, offer'd himself to die For Man's offense. O unexampled love, 410 Love no where to be found less than Divine!
398. Thee only' extoll'd,] We must of which fee before in the note not understand it thus, Thy Powers upon I. 169. returning from pursuit extollid, &c. : but Thy Powers extolld thee re- 406. He to appease thy wrath,] turning from pursuit, and thee only; As an ingenious person observes, for he was the fole vietor, all the than or but must be understood bereft flood flent eye-witnesses of his al. fore He to complete the sense. Such mighty acts, VI. 880. &c. So per- omissions are frequent in poetry, fečtly doth this hymn of the good and this may have a beauty here, Angels agree with the account as it expresses the readiness of the given by Raphael in Book VI. and Son to interpose on Man's behalf whenever mention is made of the immediately upon perceiving the good Angels joining in the pursuit, Father's gracious purpose. it is by the evil Angels, the reason Vol. I,
Hail Son of God, Saviour of Men, thy name
Thus they in Heav'n, above the starry sphere,
420 From Chaos and th’inroad of Darkness old,
412. Hail Son of God,] So in the It is to be noted that the ending of conclusion of the hymn to Her- this hymn is in imitation of the cules mention'd before. Æn. VIII. hymns of Homer and Callimachus, 301.
who always promise to return in Salve vera Jovis proles, decus ad. future hymns. Richardson. dite Divis.
418. Mean while upon the firm &c.]
Satan's walk upon the outside of 413. —the copious matter of my the universe, which at a distance
fong) Dr. Bentley reads here appeared to him of a globular our fong; but why may not Milton form, but upon his nearer aptake the liberty us'd in the ancient proach looked like an unbounded chorus, where sometimes the plu- plain, is natural and noble: as his ral, and sometimes the singular roaming upon the frontiers of the number is used? Or it may be creation between that mass of mat. said that Milton speaks in his own ter,which was wrought into a world, perfon, or rather narrates than and that fhapeless unformed heap gives us the words as the words of of materials, which Atill lay in the Angels. If we read it over, Chaos and confusion, strikes the we shall see this plainly; Thee first imagination with something aftothey fung, ver. 372. and again, nishingly great and wild. Addison. Thie next they sang, ver. 383; and 431. As when a cultur &c.] this accounts for what Dr. Bentley This fimile is very apposite and objects to ver. 381. that Seraphim lively, and corresponds exactly in are mention'd. Pearce, all the particulars. Satan coming
Satan alighted walks: a globe far off
from Hell to Earth in order to who are called roving, as they live destroy mankind, but lighting firft chiefly in tents, and remove from on the bare convex of this world's place to place for the convenience outermoft orb, a fea of land as the of pasturage, their herds of cattel poet calls it, is very fitly com- and what they take in hunting pared to a vultur flying, in quest being their principal subsistence. of his prey, tender lambs or kids Ganges and Hydafpes are famoas new-yeand, from the barren rocks rivers of India, and Serica is a to the more fruitful hills and region betwixt China to the east streams of India, but lighting in and the mountain İmaus to the his way on the plains of Sericana, weft: and what our author here which were in a manner a fea fays of the Chineses, he seems to of land too, the country being so have taken from Heylin's Cofmo. smooth and open that carriages graphy, p. 867. where it is said, were driven (as travelers report) « Agreeable unto the observation with sails and wind. Imaus is a ce- 6 of modern writers, the country lebrated mountain in Afia; its“ is so plain and level, that they name fignifies fnorwy in the lan- " have carts and coaches driven guage of the inhabitants according “ with sails, as ordinarily as drawn to Pliny, Lib. 6. cap. 21. incola. “ with horses, in these parts." Our ram lingua nivofum fignificante ; author supposes these carriages to and therefore it is said here whose be made of cane, to render the snowy ridge. It is the boundary to thing somewhat more probable. It the east of the Wettern Tartars, may be thought the lefs incredible,
Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds,
435 Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams ;
as there was a man lately at Bath may produce in the reader at the who attempted something of the same time both belief and astonishsame nature, and could really drive ment. This is brought to pass in his machine without horses by the a well-chosen fable, by the achelp of wind and fail upon Marl- count of such things as have really borough Downs, but it would not happen'd, or at least of such things serve upon the road; it did well as have happend according to the enough upon the plain, but he received opinions of mankind. could not make it go up hill. Milton's fable is a master-piece of
442. -- in this places I have be- this nature; as the war in Hea. fore spoken of the Limbo of Va- ven, the condition of the fallen nity, which the poet places upon Angels, the state of innocence, the outermost surface of the uni- the temptation of the Serpent and verse, and Mall here explain my- the fall of Man, though they are self more at large on that, and very astonishing in themselves, are other parts of the poem, which not only credible, but actual points are of the same thadowy nature. of faith. The next method of reAristotle observes, that the fable conciling miracles with credibility, of an epic poem should abound in is by a happy invention of the circumstances that are both cre- poet; as in particular, when he indible and astonishing; or as the troduces agents of a superior naFrench critics choose to phrase it, ture, who are capable of effecting the fable should be filled with the what is wonderful, and what is probable and the marvelous. This not to be met with in the ordi. fule is as fine and just as any in nary course of things.: Ulysses's Aristotle's whole art of poetry. If ihip being turned into a rock, and the fable is only probable, it dif- Æneas's fleet into a Moal of Wafers nothing from a true history; ter-nymphs, though they are very if it is only marvelous, it is no surprising accidents, are neverthebetter than a romance. The great less probable, when we are told secret therefore of heroic poetry is that they were the Gods who thus to relate such circumstances, as transformed them. It is this kind
But in his trzy lights on the barren pairs
of machinery which fills the poems fation of Milton's fable, though both of Homer and Virgil with we find it full of surprising inci. fuch circun tances as are wonder. dents, they are generally fuited to fal, but not imposible, and so fre. our notions of the things and per. quently produce in the reader the fons described, and tempered with moft pleating pation that can rise a due measure of probability. I in the mind of man, which is ad. muit only make an exceprion to miration. If there be any infance the Limbo of Vanity, with his in the Æreid liable to exception episode of Sin and Death, and upon this account, it is in the be- some of the imaginary persons in ginning of the third book, where his Chaos. These partages are Æneas is represented as tearing astonishing, but not credible; the up the myrtle that dropped blood. reader cannot so far impofe upon To qualify this wonderful circum- himself, as to see a posibility in stance, Polydorus tells a story from them; they are the defcription of the root of the myrtle, that the dreams and shadows, not of things barbarous inhabitants of the coun- or persons. I know that many try having pierced him with spears critics look upon the itories of and arrows, the wood which was Circe, Polypheme, the Sirens, nay left in his body took root in his the whole Odysley and Iliad, 10 wounds, and gave birth to that be allegories; but allowing this to bleeding tree. This circumstance be true, they are fables, which seems to have the marvelous with confidering the opinions of manout the probable, because it is re- kind that prevailed in the age of presented as proceeding from na. the poet, might poffibly have been tural causes, without the interpofi- according to the letter. The pertion of any God, or other super- fons are such as might have acicd natural power capable of pro- what is ascribed to them, as the ducing it. The spears and arrows circumstances in which they are regrow of themselves, without so presented, might posibly have been much as the modern help of an in- truths and realities. This appearchantment. If we look into the cace of probability is so absolutely