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birth. These are the terrors of an evil conscience, and the proper fruits of sin, which naturally rise from the apprehensions of death. This last beautiful moral is, I think, clearly intimated in the speech of Sin, where complaining of this her dreadful issue, she adds,

Before mine eyes in opposition sits

Grim Death, my son and foe, who sets them on,
And me his parent would full soon devour

For want of other prey, but that he knows
His end with mine involv'd-

I need not mention to the reader the beautiful circumstance in the last part of this quotation. He will likewise observe how naturally the three persons concerned in this allegory, are tempted by one common interest to enter into a confederacy together, and how properly Sin is made the portress of hell, and the only being that can open the gates to that world of tortures.

The descriptive part of this allegory is likewise very strong, and full of sublime ideas. The figure of Death, the regal crown upon his head, his menace of Satan, his advancing to the combat, the outcry at his birth, are circumstances too noble to be passed over in silence, and extremely suitable to this king of terrors. I need not mention the justness of thought which is observed in the generation of these several symbolical persons, that Sin was produced upon the first revolt of Satan, and Death appeared soon after he was cast into hell, and that the terrors of conscience were conceived at the gate of this place of torments. The description of the gates is very poetical, as the opening of them is full of Milton's spirit.

-On a sudden open fly,

With impetuous recoil and jarring sound,
Th' infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook
Of Erebus. She open'd, but to shut
Excell'd her pow'r; the gates wide open stood,

That with extended wings a banner'd host,
Under spread ensigns marching, might pass through
With horse and chariots rank'd in loose array;

So wide they stood, and like a furnace mouth
Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame.

In Satan's voyage through the chaos, there are several imaginary persons described, as residing in that immense waste of matter. This may perhaps

be conformable to the taste of those critics who are pleased with nothing in a poet which has not life and manners ascribed to it; but for my own part, I am pleased most with those passages in this description which carry in them a greater measure of probability, and are such as might possibly have happened. Of this kind is his first mounting in the smoke that rises from the infernal pit, his falling into a cloud of nitre, and the like combustible materials, that by their explosion still hurried him forward in his voyage; his springing upward like a pyramid of fire, with his laborious passage through that confusion of elements, which the poet calls

The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave.

The glimmering light which shot into chaos from the utmost verge of the creation, with the distant discovery of the earth that hung close by the moon, are wonderfully beautiful and poetical.

No. 315. SATURDAY, MARCH 1.

Nec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus

Inciderit

HOR.

HORACE advises a poet to consider thoroughly the nature and force of his genius. Milton seems to have known perfectly well wherein his strength lay, and has therefore chosen his subject entirely con

formable to those talents of which he was master. As his genius was wonderfully turned to the sublime, his subject is the noblest that could have entered into the thoughts of man. Every thing that is truly great and astonishing has a place in it. The whole system of the intellectual world; the chaos, and the creation; heaven, earth, and hell; enter into the constitution of his poem.

Having in his first and second books represented the infernal world with all its horrors, the thread of his fable naturally leads him into the opposite regions of bliss and glory.

If Milton's majesty forsakes him any where, it is in those parts of his poem, where the Divine Persons are introduced as speakers. One may, I think, observe, that the author proceeds with a kind of fear and trembling, whilst he describes the sentiments of the Almighty. He dares not give his imagination its full play, but chuses to confine himself to such thoughts as are drawn from the books of the most orthodox divines, and to such expressions as may be met with in scripture. The beauties, therefore, which we are to look for in these speeches, are not of a poetical nature, nor so proper to fill the mind with sentiments of grandeur, as with thoughts of devotion. The passions which they are designed to raise, are a divine love and religious fear. The particular beauty of the speeches in the third book consists in that shortness and perspicuity of style, in which the poet has couched the greatest mysteries of Christianity, and drawn together, in a regular scheme, the whole dispensation of Providence, with respect to man. He has represented all the abstruse doctrines of predestination, free-will, and grace, as also the great points of the incarnation and redemption, (which naturally grow up in a poem that treats of the fall of man,) with great energy of expression, and in a clear and stronger light than ever I met with in any other writer. other writer. As these points are dry

in themselves to the generality of readers, the concise and clear manner in which he has treated them is very much to be admired, as is likewise that particular art which he has made use of, in the interspersing of all those graces of poetry which the subject was capable of receiving.

The survey of the whole creation, and of every thing that is transacted in it, is a prospect worthy of Omniscience; and as much above that in which Virgil has drawn his Jupiter, as the Christian idea of the Supreme Being is more rational and sublime than that of the heathens. The particular objects on which he is described to have cast his eye, are represented in the most beautiful and lively manner.

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Now had th' Almighty Father from above,
From the pure empyrean where he sits

High thron'd above all height, bent down his eye,
His own works and their works at once to view.
About him all the sanctities of heav'n

Stood thick as stars, and from his sight receiv'd
Beatitude past utterance: on his right
The radiant image of his glory sat,
His only Son; on earth he first beheld
Our two first parents, yet the only two
Of mankind, in the happy garden plac'd,
Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love,
Uninterrupted joy, unrival'd love,
In blissful solitude; he then survey'd
Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there
Coasting the wall of heav'n on this side night
In the dun air sublime, and ready now
To stoop with wearied wings and willing feet
On the bare outside of this world, that seem'd
Firm land imbosom'd, without firmament,
Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.
Him God beholding from his prospect high,
Wherein past, present, future he beholds,
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.

Satan's approach to the confines of the creation, is finely imaged in the beginning of the speech which immediately follows. The effect of this speech, in the blessed spirits, and in the Divine Per

son to whom it was addressed, cannot but fill the mind of the reader with a secret pleasure and com→ placency.

Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill'd

All heav'n, and in the blessed spirits elect
Sense of new joy ineffable diffus'd!
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
Most glorious, in him all his Father shone
Substantially express'd, and in his face.
Divine compassion visibly appear'd,

Love without end, and without measure grace.

I need not point out the beauty of that circumstance, wherein the whole host of angels are represented as standing mute; nor shew how proper the occasion was to produce such a silence in heaven. The close of this divine colloquy, with the hymn of angels that followed upon it, are so wonderfully beautiful and poetical, that I should not forbear inserting the whole passage, if the bounds of my paper would give me leave.

No sooner had th' Almighty ceas'd, but all
The multitudes of angels with a shout,
Loud as from numbers without number, sweet
As from blest voices utt'ring joy, heav'n rung
With jubilee, and loud hosannas fill'd
Th' eternal regions, &c.

Satan's walk upon the outside of the universe, which, at a distance, appeared to him of a globular foam, but, upon his nearer approach, looked like an unbounded plain, is natural and noble. As his roaming upon the frontiers of the creation, between that mass of matter which was wrought into a world, and that shapeless, unformed heap of materials which still lay in chaos and confusion, strikes the imagination with something astonishingly great and wild. I have before spoken of the Limbo of Vanity, which the poet places upon this outermost surface of the universe, and shall here explain my

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