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victory runs strong in fayour of the Tros jans, and the Grecian army and fleet are brought into the most imminent danger of destruction. From this desperate situation the Greeks are rescued by the arts of Juno. Knowing the weak side of her husband, and that the allurements of beauty are irresistible to him, she summons every charm in aid to her person ; by flattery and lies she obtains of Venus that cæstus, to which a thousand graces are attached, and, thus attired, she seduces Jupiter to the idle dalliances of love, and diverting his attention from the Trojan plains, other gods lend their succour to the Greeks, awake their courage, and the Trojans sink under their united at tack. Jupiter, at length recovering from the lethargy of lust and sleep, beholds the sad reverse, which his Trojans had experienced during this fatal interval; and indignant at the imposition, which had been put upon him, he threatens the seductive author of it with all his vengeance. Here another trait of moral mind in this divine consort

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of the super-divine Jove presents itself. To her husband's accusation of her having instigated Neptune to take up arms in behalf of the dispirited Greeks, during his own amorous delirium, she swears to as great a falsehood as ever issued from the mouth of woman in her most pressing exigences: She confirmas the lie by the strongest adjurations; byl the dread power of Jove, by Stył;-sand more than all, by that unbroken yow, her virgin bed,--that at no instigation of hers had Neptune turned the current of war in favour of Greece. But such is her own obstinate malice against Troy, that having withdrawn from the presence of Jupiter, to .whose will she had vowed submission, while alarmed for her own safety, she instantly endeavours to effect her purpose by exciting the whole assembly of the gods to an open conspiracy and rebellion against the sovereign majesty of Heaven, their lord and her lord. : Such are the personages, whose favour and protection are to throw a lustre on the mortal heroes of the poem, and whose

characters

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characters are to facilitate, and confer a dignity on the moral instruction of the poem. " 7. It would, indeed, be tiresome and disgust ing to bring forward into your presence any other of the celestial actors in the epic, in the view of moral; nor is it my

intention to prosecute the disgusting detail. Such as Jupiter and Juno are, such are they all, with little if any variation of character. The amour of Venus 'with Mars in the very court of Heaven, and the exposure of the adulterous pair to the assembled gods, make a charmingly moral picture, and such gods are wonderfully calculated to aid the sublime views of the epic poem. In whatever light we view them, this is the general picture of them, that they are capricious equally in their favour and their anger, profligate in their manners, wicked from principle as well as passion, interposing with their aid from no regard to justice or virtue, and where their vengeance falls, oppressing their human victims as their pleasurse leads them ; and often for no reason, but that of tyrants

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and cowards, because their hand is uppermost. No instruction of worth and dignity can come from them; they corrupt, they cooperate with every evil passion, and fami. liarity with them is not favourable to good impressions, even where a better faith is received and acknowledged. But, perhaps, it may more interest you,

if I shall show, that they are as contemptible as they are immoral; that they constitute as puerile and feeble and uninteresting a machinery, as imagination could ever think of associating with human agency, in order to embellish and illustrate the imitations of real genius.--For,

II. If instruction be not promoted, but in truth counteracted by the machinery of the ancient epic, neither are our imaginations raised, nor our sublimer and more noble passions at all affected by the exhibition of such characters. In themselves, whether in their actions on Earth or in Heaven, whether as mixing with men or each other, they ap. pear with no consistence of character, with

VOL. II.

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ño grandeur of mind or action, generally more the objects of contempt than réverence, more adapted to the 'satirical ridicule of Lucian, than to adorn and dignify the epic poem. How mean and low, how unsuited to the gravity of the heroic muse, are the feuds and quarrels, and brawls of these gods and goddesses with each other; how below even the conduct of men, when committed to the influence of the same indignant and conflicting passions! How truly vulgar, is the abusive tongue of Juno! How little superior to the impotent rage and gross. language of a Billingsgate fish-woman! Nor less does Venus descend in her replies from the character of the Queen of loves and graces and smiles. . If they be beings above the walk of men, they ought, even in their passions and vices, to be clothed with a dignity superior to human actors; but even human nature blushes for them. And are such exhibitions fitted to exalt the imagination, to stir one great and generous emotion of the soul? How pitiful is the blubbering

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