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NOTES

ON MILTON'S PARADISE LOST.

BOOK I.

1. Of Man's first disobedience, &c.] MILTON has proposed the subject of his poem in the following verses. These lines are perhaps as plain, simple, and unadorned as any of the whole poem, in which particular the author has conformed himself to the example of Homer and the precept of Horace. His invocation to a work, which turns in a great measure upon the creation of the world, is very properly made to the Muse who inspired Moses in those books from whence our author drew his subject, and to the Holy Spirit, who is therein represen ed as operating after a particular manner in the first production of nature. This whole exordium rises very happily into noble language and sentiment, as I think the transition to the fable is exquisitely beautiful and natural. Addison.

Besides the plainness and simplíc ty of these lines, there is a farther beauty in the variety of the numbers, which are so, artfully varied, that the pause falls upon a different syllable in almost every line, as it may perceived by distinguishing the verses thus:

Of Man's first disobedience --- and the fruit .
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us---and regain the blissful seat,
Sing heav'nly Muse,
YOL, III.

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