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it with fiction, and-giving a full range to his invention. We find however that he has interwoven in the course of his fable the principal particulars which were generally believed among the Romans of Æneas's voyage and settlement in Italy, The history, which was the basis of Milton's poem, is still shorter than either that of the Iliad or Æneid. The poet has likewise taken care to insert every circumstance of it in the body of his fable. The ninth book, which we are here to consider, is raised upon that brief account in Scripture, wherein we are told that the Serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field, that he tempted the woman to eat of the forbidden fruit, that she was overcome by this temptation, and that Adam followed her example. From these few particulars, Milton has formed one of the most entertaining fables that invention ever produced. He has disposed of these several circumstances among so many beautiful and natural fictions of his own, that his whole story looks only like a comment upon sacred Writ, or racher seems to be a full and complete relation of what the other is only an epitome. 'I have insisted the longer on this consideration, as I look upon the disposition and contrivance of the fable to be the principal beauty of the ninth book, which has more story in it, and is fuller of incidents, than any other in the whole poem. Satan's traversing the globe, and still keeping within the shadow of the night, as fearing to be discovered by the Angel of the sun, who had before detected him, is one of those beautiful imaginations, with which he introdụces this his second series of adventures. - Having examined the nature of every creature, and found out one which was the most proper for his purpose, he again returns to Paradise; and to avoid discovery, sinks by night with a river that ran under the garden, and rises up again through a fountain that issued from it by the tree of life. The poet, who, as we have before taken notice, speaks as little as possible in his own person, and after the example of Homer fills every part of his work with manners and characters, introduces a soliloquy of this infernal agent, who was thus restless in the destruction of Man. He is then described as gliding through the garden, under the resemblance of a mist, in order to find out that creature in which he designed to tempt our first parents. This description has something in it very potical and surprising. Addisex.
64. With darkness, &c.] It was about noon that Satan came to the earth, and having been discovered by Uriel, he was driven out of Paradise the same night, as we read in book the fourth, From that time he was a whole week in continual darkness for fear of another discovery.
77. From Eden over Pontus, &c.] As we had before an as. tronomical, so here we have a geographical, account of Satan's peregrinations. “He search'd” both 66 sea and land,” northward “from Eden over Pontus,” Pontus Euxinus, the Euxine Sea, now the Black Sea, above Constantinople, “..and the pool Mæotis," Palus Mæotis above the Black Sea,“ up beyond the river Ob," Ob or Obey, a great river of Muscovy near the Dorthern pole.
86. The serpent subtlest beast of all the field.) So Moses Gen. iii. 1. The subtlety of the serpent is commended likewise by Aristotle and other Naturalists : And therefore he was the fitter instrument for Satan, because (as Milton says, agreeably with the doctrine of the best Divines) any sleights in him might be thought to proceed from his native wit and subtlety, but observed in other creatures might the easier beget a suspicion of a diabolical power acting within them beyond their natural sense.
89.--fittest imp of fraud,] Fittest stock to graft his dezilish fraud upon. . Imp of the Saxon impan, to put into, to graft upon. Thus children are called little imps, from their imitating all they see and hear. Hume.
113. Of growth, sense, reason, all summ'd up in Man.] The three kinds of life rising as it were by steps, the vegetable, animal, and rational; of all which man partakes, and he only; he grows as plants, minerals, and all things inanimate ; he lives as all other animated creatures, but is over and above endued with
119. Find place or refuge;] Dr. Bentley believes that the author gave it “Find place of refuge:" Another learned gentleman proposes to read “ Find peace or refuge : but it may be understood thus, “but I in none of these find place to dwell in or sefuge from divine vengeance. And this sense seems to be confirmed by what follows.
But neither here seck I, no nor in Heaven
Nor hope to be myself less miserable, that is (as Dr. Greenwood adds) I find no place to dwell here," for I do not seek or desire it ; and I expect no refuge, because I cannot " hope to be less miserable.
156. And flaming ministers] As in Psal. civ. 4.
164.-am now constrain'd&c.] The construction is, am now forced into a beast, and to incarnate, &c. The verb cons strained governs both the members; and there are innumera, ble instances (as Mr. Richardson observes) in Milton, Horace, and the best Latin and Greek poets, of the same verb governing in one member of the period a noun, &*c. and in the other a verb, &c.
166. This essence to incarnate and to imbrute,] So also ia his Mask.
The soul grows clotted by contagion, “Imbodies and imbrutes." Thyer.
173 Let it;] Let revenge recoii on itself, “ I reck not," I value not, “so it light well aim'd, since higher I fall short, on him who next provokes my envy,” so it light on Man, since I cannot accomplish my revenge on God. A truly diabolical sentiment this. So he can but be any ways revenged, he does not value tho' his revenge recoil on himself.
192. Now when as sacred light &c.] The author gives us a description of the morning, which is wonderfully suitable to a divine
poem, and peculiar to that first season of nature : He represents the earth, before it was curst, as a great altar, breathing out its incense from all parts, and sending up a pleasant savour to the nostrils. of its Creator; to which he adds a noble idea of Adam and Eve, as offering their morning worship, and filling up the universal consort of praise and adoration. Addison. This is the morning of the ninth day, as far as we can reckon the time in this poem, a great part of the action lying out of the sphere of day. The first day we reckon that wherein Satan came to the earth; the space of seven days af. ter that he was coasting round the earth; he comes into Paradise again by night, and this is the beginning of the ninth day, and the last of Man's innocence and happiness.
197. Witb grateful smell,] This is in the stile of the eastern poetry
So it is said in Gen. vii. 21. 399.
ibat done,] Our author always sup:
poses Adam and Eve to employ their first and their last hours in devotion. The greatest geniuses in all ages, from Homer to Milton, appear plainly by their writings to have been men of piety and religion.
226. To wbom mild answer Adam thus return d.] The dispute which follows-between our two first parents is represented with great art; it proceeds from a difference of judgment, not of passion, and is managed with reason, not with heat: It is such a dispute as we may suppose might have happened in Paradise, had Man continued happy and innocent. There is a great delicacy in the moralįties which are interspersed in Adam's discourse, and which the most ordinary reader cannot but take notice of. That force of love, which the father of mankind so finely describes in the eighth book, shews itself here in many fine instances: as in those fond regards he cast towards Eve at her parting from him, ver. 397.
Her long with ardent look his eye pursued
Delighted, &c. in his impatience and amusement during her absence, ver. .838.
Adam the while,
Of choiceșt flow'rs a garland &*c. but particularly in that passionate speech, where seeing her irrecoverably lost he resolves to perish with her rather than to live without her, ver. 904.
-some cursed fraud Of enemy hath beguild thee & c. The beginning of this speech, and the preparation to it, are ani. mated with the same spirit as the conclusion which I have here quoted. Addison.,
249.---is best society,] As Scipio said, Never less alone than when alone.
250. And sbort retirement urges sweet return.] Retirement, though but short, makes the return sweet : the word urges is to be referred to retirement only, and not to the epithet, which Adam seems to annex to it, only because he could not bear to think of a long one.
270—the virgin majesty of Eve,] The ancients used the word virgin with more latitude than we, as Virgil Eclog. vi. 47, calls Pasiphae virgin after she had had three children, and
Ovid calls Medea adultera virgo. Ovid. Epist. Hypsip. Jas. 133. It is put here to denote beauty, bloom, sweetness, modesty, and all the amiable characters which are usually found in t a virgin, and these with matron majesty; what a picture !
278. Jest tben return'd at shut of evening flowers.] What a natural notation of evening is this! and a proper time for her, who had “gone forth among her fruits and powers," viii. 44,
But we must not conceive that Eve is speaking of the evening last past, for this was a week ago. Satan was caught tempting Eve in a dream, and tled out of Paradise that night, and with this ends book the fourth. After he had fied out of Paradise he was ranging round the world seven days; but we have not any account of Adam and Eve excepting only on the first of those days, which begins with the beginning of book the fifth, where Eve relates her dream ; that day at noon the Angel Raphael comes down from Heaven; the Angel and Adam discourse together till evening, and they part at the end of book the eighth. There are six days therefore past in silence, and we hear no more of Adam and Eve, till Sacan had stolen again into Paradise.
312..-while shame, shou looking on,] Milton often uses the nominative case absolute, as the Greeks do.
318domestic Adam] This epithet seems to allude to what Adam had said in ver. 232.
-nothing lovelier can be found
And good works in her husband to promote. “ Domestic in his care," may signify here one who has a care. ful regard to the good of his family; and all this speech of Adams was intended for the security of his wifc.
320. Less attributed] That is, too little; an elegant Latinis.n.
334:-ur witness from sb' event.] The Spirit bearing witness with our spirit, Rom. viii. 16.
335. And what is faith love, virtue unassay'd ?
Alone, without exterior help sustain'd?] What merit is there in any virtue till it has stood the test alone, and without other assistance ?
339. As not secure to single or combin’d.) As not to be secure to uz single or together,