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the Inquisition to take him in, as the Phrase is. After all that is told him, he has information only of one Woman that is laid for him, and that the wrong one; for the Lady Commissioners have devoted him to another than the Person against whom they have employed their Agent his Friend to alarm him. The Plot is laid so well about this young Gentleman, that he has no Friend to retire to, no Place to appear in, or Part of the Kingdom to fly into, but he must fall into the Notice, and be subject to the Power of the Inquisition. They have their Émissaries and Substitutes in all parts of this united Kingdom. The first Step they usually take, is to find from a Correspondence, by their Messengers and Whisperers with fome Domestick of the Batchelor (who is to be hunted into the Toils they have laid for him) what are his Manners, his Familiarities, his good Qualities or Vices; not as the Good in him is a Recommendation, or the Ill a Diminution, but as they affect or contribute to the main Inquiry, What Estate he has in him ? When this Point is well reported to the Board, they can take in a wild roaring Foxhunter, as easily as a soft, gentle young Fop of the Town, The Way is to make all Places uneasy to him, but the Scenes in which they have allotted him to act. His Brother Huntsmen, Bottle Companions, his Fraternity of Fops, shall be brought into the Conspiracy against him. Then this Matter is not laid in fo bare-faced a Manner before him as to have it intimated Mrs, such a one would make him a very proper Wife ; but by the Force of their Correspondence they shall make it (as Mr. Waller said of the Marriage of the Dwarfs) as impracticable to have any Woman besides her they design him, as it would have been in Adam to have refused Eve. The Man named by the Commission for Mrs. Such a-one, shall neither be in Fashion, nor dare ever to appear in Company, should he attempt to evade their Determination.
THE Female Sex wholly govern domestick Life ; and by this Means, when they think fit, they can sow Dissenfions between the dearest Friends, nay make Father and Son irreconcileable Enemies in spite of all the Ties of Gratitude on one Part, and the Duty of Protection to be paid on the other. The Ladies of the Inquisition understand this perfectly well; and where Love is not a Motive to a
Man's Man's chusing one whom they allot, they can, with very much Art, insinuate Stories to the Disadvantage of his Honesty or Courage, 'till the Creature is too much difpirited to bear up against a general ill Reception, which he every where meets with, and in due time falls into their appointed Wedlock for Shelter. I have a long Letter bearing Date the fourth Instant, which gives me a large Account of the Policies of this Court; and find there is now before them a very refractory Person who has escaped all their Machinations for two Years last past : But they have prevented two successive Matches which were of his own Inclination, the one, by a Report that his Mistress was to be married, and the very Day appointed, Wedding-Cloaths bought, and all things ready for her being given to another; the second time by infinuating to all his Mistress's Friends and Acquaintance, that he had been false to several other Women, and the like. The poor Man is now reduced to profess he designs to lead a fingle Life; but the Inquisition give out to all his Acquaintance, that nothing is intended but the Gentleman's own Welfare and Happiness. When this is urged he talks ftill more humbly, and protests he aims only at a Life without Pain or Reproach ; Pleasure, Honour and Riches, are things for which he has no taste. But notwithitanding all this and what else he may defend himself with, as that the Lady is too old or too young, of a suitable Humour, or the quite contrary, and that it is impossible they can ever do other than wrangle from June to y anuary, every Body tells him all this is Spleen, and he must have a Wife; while all the Members of the Inquisition are unanimous in a certain Woman for him, and they think they all together are better able to judge, than he or any other private Person whatsoever. SIR,
Temple, March 3, 1711. "V OUR Speculation this Day on the Subject of Idle6 1 ness has employed me, ever since I read it, in • sorrowful Reflexions on my having loitered away the • Term (or rather the Vacation) of ten Years in this place, • and unhappily suffered a good Chamber and Study to
lie idle as long. My Books (except those I have taken to ' sleep upon, have been totally neglected, and my Lord
- Coke and other venerable Authors were never so flighted
in their Lives. I spend most of the Day at a Neigh• bouring Coffee-House, where we have what I may call • a lazy Club. We generally come in Night-Gowns, with • our Stockings about our Heels, and sometimes but one i on. Our Salutation at Entrance is a Yawn and a Stretch, • and then without more Ceremony we take our Place • at the Lolling Table ; where our Discourse is, what I « fear you would not read out, therefore shall not insert. • But I assure you, Sir, I heartily lament this Loss of « Time, and am now resolved (if possible, with double • Diligence) to retrieve it, being effectually awakened by • the Arguments of Mr. Slack out of the Senseless Stupi• dity that has so long possessed me. And to demonstrate • that Penitence accompanies my Confeflion, and Con• ftancy my Resolutions, I have locked my Door for a " Year, and desire you would let my Companions know ' I am not within, I am with great Respečt, SI R, Your most obedient Servant,
Saturday, March 8.
Nec fatis eft pulchra effe poemata, dulcia funto. Hor. THOSE, who know how many Volumes have I been written on the Poems of Homer and Vir
gil will easily pardon the Length of my Dircourse upon Milton: The Paradise Lost is looked upon by the best Judges, as the greateit Production, or at least the noblest Work of Genius in our Language, and therefore deserves to be set before an Englis Reader in its full Beauty. For this Reason, tho' I have endeavoured to give a General Idea of its Graces and Imperfections in my Six first Papers, I thought my self obliged to bestow one upon every Book in particular. The first Three Books I have already dispatched, and am now entring upon the Fourth. I need not acquaint my Reader that there are Multitudes of
Beauties Beauties in this great Author, especially in the Descriptive Parts of his Poem, which I have not touched upon, it being my Intention to point out those only, which appear to me the most exquisite, or those which are not so obvious to ordinary Readers. Every one that has read the Criticks who have written upon the Odyley, the Iliad, and the Æneid, knows very well, that though they agree in their Opinions of the great Beauties in those Poems, they have nevertheless each of them discovered several Master-Strokes, which have escaped the Observation of the rest. In the fame manner, I question not, but any Writer who shall treat of this Subject after me, may find several Beauties in Milton, which I have not taken notice of. I must likewise observe, that as the greatest Masters of Critical Learning differ among one another, as to some. particular Points in an Epic Poem, I have not bound my felf fcrupulously to the Rules which any one of them hasť laid down upon that Art, but have taken the Liberty sometimes to join with one, and fometimes with another, and fometimes to differ from all of them, when I have thought that the Reafon of the thing was on my side.
WE may consider the Beauties of the Fourth Book un. der three Heads. In the first are those Pictures of StillLife, which we meet with in the Description of Eden, Paradise, Adam's Bower, &c. In the next are the Machines, which comprehend the Speeches and Behaviour of the good and bad Angels. In the last is the Conduct of Adam and Eve, who are the Principal Actors in the Poem.
IN the Description of Paradise, the Poet has observed Aristotle's Rule of lavishing all the Ornaments of Di&tión on the weak unactive Parts of the Fable, which are not supported by the Beauty of Sentiments and Characters. Accordingly the Reader may observe, that the Expressions are more florid and elaborate in these Descriptions, than in most other parts of the Poem. I must further add, that tho’the Drawings of Gardens, Rivers, Rainbows, and the like dead Pieces of Nature are juftly censured in an Heroic Poem, when they run out into an unnecessary length; the Description of Paradise would have been faul. ty, had not the Poet been very particular in it, not only as it is the Scene of the Principal Action, but as it is requisite to give us an Idea of that Happiness from which
our first Parents fell. The Plan of it is wonderfully beautiful, and formed upon the short Sketch which we have of it in Holy Writ. Milton's Exuberance of Imagination has poured forth such a Redundancy of Ornaments on this Seat of Happiness and Innocence, that it would be endless to point out each Particular.
I must not quit this Head, without further observing, that there is scarce a Speech of Adam or Eve in the whole Poem, wherein the Sentiments and Allusions are not taken from this their delightful Habitation. The Reader, during their whole Course of Action, always finds himself in the Walks of Paradise. In short, as the Criticks have remarked, that in those Poems, wherein Shepherds are AEtors, the Thoughts ought always to take a Tincture from the Woods, Fields and Rivers, so we may observe, that our first Parents seldom lose Sight of their happy Station in any thing they speak or do ; and, if the Reader will give me leave to use the Expression, that their Thoughts are always Paradisiacal.
WE are in the next place to confider the Machines of the Fourth Book. Satan being now within Prospect of Eden, and looking round upon the Glories of the Creation, is filled with Sentiments different from those which he discovered whilft he was in Hell. The Place inspires him with Thoughts more adapted to it: He reflects upon the happy Condition from whence he fell, and breaks forth into a Speech that is softned with several transient Touches of Remorse and Self-accusation : But at length he confirms himself in Impenitence, and in his Design of drawing Man into his own State of Guilt and Misery. This Conflict of Passions is raised with a great deal of Art, as the opening of his Speech to the Sun is very bold and noble.
O thou that with surpassing Glory crown'd,