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the Scripture, others from the British or Scottish histories: and of the latter the last mentioned is Macbeth, as if he had an inclination to try his strength with Shakespear; and to reduce the play more to the unities he propoles “ beginning at the arrival of Malcolm at Macduff; the “matter of Duncan may be expressed by the appearin " of his ghost." These manuscripts of Milton were foun by the learned Mr. Professor Mason among some oth old papers, which, he says, belonged to Sir Henry Ner ton Puckering, who was a considerable benefactor to tl library: and for the better preservation of such truly luable reliques, they were collected together, and han somely bound in a thin folio by the care and at the chai of a person, who is now very eminent in his profefli. and was always a lover of the Muses, and at that tim
fellow of Trinity College, Mr. Clarke, one of his Majel · counsel.
This first book proposes, first in brief, the whole frıbject, Man's
disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was plac'd: Then touches the prime cause of his fall, the
Serpent, or rather Satan in the serpent; who revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of Angels, was by the command of God driven out of Heaven with all his crew into the great deep. Which action pass’d over, the poem hastes into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angels now fallen into Hell, describ'd here, not in the center (for Heaven and Earth may be suppos’d as pret not made, certainly not yet accurs’d) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest call d Chaos: Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning lake, thunder-struck and aftonish'd, after a certain space recovers, as from confufion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him; the confer of their miserable fall. Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded; They rise, their numbers, array of battle, their chief leaders nam'd, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them lastly of a new world and new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy or report in Heaven; for that Angels were long before this visible creation, was the opinion of many ancient Fathers.
To find out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determin thereon he refers to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandemonium the palace of Satan rises, suddenly built out of the deep: The infernal peers there fit in council.
F Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
· And 25
And mad'It it pregnant: what in me is dark,
Say first,(for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view,
- 35 The mother of mankind; what time his pride. Had cast him out from Heav'n, with all his hoft Of rebel Angels, by whose aid, aspiring To set himself in glory above his peers, He trusted to have equal'd the most High, 40 If he oppos’d; and, with ambitious aim, Against the throne and monarchy of God, Rais'd impious war in Heav'n,and battel proud, With vain attempt. Him the almighty Power Hurl'd headlong, flaming from th'ethereal sky, 45 With hideous ruin and combustion, down To bottomless perdition; there to dwell In adamantin chains and penal fire, Who durst defy th’Omnipotent to arms.