Imágenes de páginas

Juv. Sat. 1. 319.

The gods will grant

Ah! that we lov'd ou

elves but half as well!

No. 356.] Friday, April 18, 1712. for a heap of fleeting past pleasures, which -Aptissima quæque dabunt dii,

are at present aching sorrows! Charior est illis hoino quain sibi

How pleasing is the contemplation of the lowly steps our Almighty Leader took in

conducting us to his heavenly mansions! What their unerring wisdom sees they want: In goodness as in greatness, they excel;

In plain and apt parable, similitude and

allegory, our great Master enforced the

Dryden. doctrine of our salvation, but they of his It is owing to pride, and a secret affecta- acquaintance, instead of receiving what tion of a certain self-existence, that the they could not oppose, were offended at noblest motive for action that ever was pro- the presumption of being wiser than they. posed to man is not acknowledged the glory They could not raise their little ideas above and happiness of their being. The heart the consideration of him, in those circumis treacherous to itself, and we do not let starces familiar to them, or conceive that our reflections go deep enough to receive he, who appeared not more terrible or religion as the most honourable incentive to pompous, should have any thing more exgood and worthy actions. It is our natural alted than themselves; he in that place weakness to fatter ourselves into a belief, therefore would no longer ineffectually that if we search into our inmost thoughts, exert a power which was incapable of we find ourselves wholly disinterested, and conquering the prepossession of their nardivested of any views arising from self-love row and mean conceptions. and vain-glory. But however spirits of su- Multitudes followed him, and brought perficial greatness may disdain at first sight him the dumb, the blind, the sick, and to do any thing, but from a noble impulse maimed; whom when their Creator had in themselves, without any future regards touched, with a second life they saw, spoke, in this, or any other being; upon stricter leaped, and ran. In affection to him, and inquiry they will find, to act worthily, and admiration of his actions, the crowd could expect to be rewarded only in another not leave him, but waited near him till world, is as heroic a pitch of virtue as hu- they were almost as faint and helpless as man nature can arrive at. If the tenor of others they brought for succour. He had our actions have any other motive than the compassion on them, and by a miracle supdesire to be pleasing in the eye of the Deity, plied their necessities. Oh, the ecstatic it will necessarily follow that we must be entertainment, when they could behold more than men, if we are not too much ex- their food immediately increase to the disalted in prosperity and depressed in ad tributor's hand, and see their God in person versity. But the Christian world has a feeding and refreshing his creatures! Oh Leader, the contemplation of whose life envied happiness! But why do I say enand sufferings, must administer comfort in vied? as if our God did not still preside affliction, while the sense of his power and over our temperate meals, cheerful hours, omnipotence must give them humiliation and innocent conversations. in prosperity.

But though the sacred story is every It is owing to the forbidding and unlovely where full of miracles, not inferior to this, constraint with which men of low concep- and though in the midst of those acts of tions act when they think they conform divinity he never gave the least hint of a themselves to religion, as well as to the design to become a secular prince, yet had more odious conduct of hypocrites, that the not hitherto the apostles themselves any word Christian does not carry with it, at other than hopes of worldly power, preferfirst view, all that is great, worthy, friend- ment, riches, and pomp; for Peter, upon ly, generous, and heroic. The man who an accident of ambition among the apostles, suspends his hopes of the reward of worthy hearing his Master explain that his kingactions till after death, who can bestow un- dom was not of this world, was so scandaseen, who can overlook hatred, do good to lized that he whom he had so long followed his slanderer, who can never be angry at should suffer the ignominy, shame, and his friend, never revengeful to his enemy, death, which he foretold, that he took him is certainly formed for the benefit of society. aside and said, 'Be it far from thee, Lord, Yet these are so far from heroic virtues, this shall not be unto thee:' for which he that they are but the ordinary duties of a suffered a severe reprehension from his Christian.

Master, as having in his view the glory of When a man with a steady faith looks man rather than that of God. back on the great catastrophe of this day, * The great change of things began to with what bleeding emotions of heart must draw near, when the Lord of nature he contemplate the life and sufferings of thought fit, as a saviour and deliverer, to his deliverer! When his agonies occur to make his public entry into Jerusalem with him, how will he weep to reflect that he more than the power and joy, but none of has often forgot them for the glance of a the ostentation and pomp of a triumph; he wanton, for the applause of a vain world, came humble, meek, and lowly; with an

unfelt new ecstasy, multitudes strewed his * Good Friday, 1712, the day of publication of this way with garinents and olive-branches,

crying, with loud gladness and acclama

pa per

tion, Hosannah to the Son of David! (other in the whole poem. 'l he author, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of upon the winding up of his action, introthe Lord!' At this great King's accession duces all those who had any concern in it, to his throne, men were not ennobled, but and shows with great beauty the influence saved; crimes were not remitted, but sins which it had upon each of them. It is like forgiven. He did not bestow medals, the last act of a well-written tragedy, in honours, favours; but health, joy, sight, which all who had a part in it are generally speech. The first object the blind ever drawn up before the audience, and re presaw was the Author of sight; while the sented under those circumstances in which lame ran before, and the dumb repeated the determination of the action placesthem. the hosannah. Thus attended, he entered I shall therefore consider this book under into his own house, the sacred temple, and four heads, in relation to the celestial, the by his divine authority expelled traders infernal, the human, and the imaginary and worldlings that profaned it; and thus persons, who have their respective parts did he for a time use a great and despotic allotted in it. power, to let unbelievers understand that To begin with the celestial persons: the it was not want of, but superiority to, all guardian angels of Paradise are described worldly dominion, that made him not exert as returning to heaven upon the fall of man, it. But is this then the Saviour? Is this the in order to approve their vigilance; their Deliverer? Shall this obscure Nazarene arrival, their manner of reception, with command Israel, and sit on the throne of the sorrow which appeared in themselves, David ? Their proud and disdainful hearts, and in those spirits who are said to rejoice which were petrified with the love and pride at the conversion of a sinner, are very finely of this world, were impregnable to the re- laid together in the following lines: ception of so mean a benefactor; and were

Upinto heav'n from Paradise in haste now enough exasperated with benefits to con- Th' angelic guards ascended, mute and sad spire his death. Our Lord was sensible of For man; for of his state by this they knew ; their design, and prepared his disciples for

Much wond'ring how the subtle fiend had stol'n

Entrance unseen. Soon as th' unwelcome news it, by recounting to them now more distinctly From earth arriv'd at heaven gate, displeas'd what should befal him; but Peter, with an

All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare

That time celestial visages; yet inixt ungrounded resolution, and in a Aush of

With pity, violated not their bliss. temper, made a sanguine protestation, that About the new arriv'd, in multitudes though all men were offended in him, yet Th' ethereal people ran to hear and know would not he be offended. It was a great

How all befel. They tow'rds the throne supreme

Accountable made haste, to make a ppear article of our Saviour's business in the

With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance, world to bring us to a sense of our inability, And easily approvd; when the Most High without God's assistance, to do any thing

Eternal Father, from his secret cloud

Amidst, in thunder utter'd thus his voice. great or good; he therefore told Peter, who thought so well of his courage and fidelity,

The same Divine Person, who in the that they would both fail him, and even he foregoing parts of this poem interceded for should deny him thrice that very night.

our first parents before their fall, over• But what heart can conceive, what threw the rebel angels, and created the tongue utter the sequel? Who is that world, is now represented as descending to yonder, buffetted, mocked, and spurned? the three offenders. The cool of the even

Paradise, and pronouncing sentence upon Whom do they drag like a felon? Whither do they carry my Lord, my King, my Sa-ing being a circumstance with which holy viour, and my God? And will he die to writ introduces this great scene, it is poetiexpiate those very injuries? See where cally described by our author, who has also they have nailed the Lord and giver of life! kept religiously to the form of words in How his wounds blacken, his body writhes, which the three several sentences were and heart heaves with pity and with agony! He has rather chosen to neglect the nu

passed upon Adam, Eve, and the serpent. Oh Almighty sufferer, look down, look down from thy triumphant infamy! Lo, merousness of his verse, than to deviate he inclines his head to his sacred bosom? from those speeches which are recorded on Hark, he groans! · See, he expires! The this great occasion. The guilt and confuearth trembles, the temple rends, the rocks before their judge, is touched with great

sion of our first parents, standing naked burst, the dead arise. Which are the beauty. Upon the arrival of Sin and Death quick? Which are the dead? Sure nature, into the works of creation, the Almighty is all nature is departing with her Creator.'


again introduced as speaking to his angels that surrounded him.

"See! with what heat these dogs of hell advance, No. 357.] Saturday, April 19, 1712.

To waste and havoc yonder world, which I

So fair and good created,' &c.
-Quis talia fando
Temperet a lachrymis ?-

Virg. En. ii. 6.

The following passage is formed upon

that glorious image in holy writ, which Who can relate such woes without a tear ?

compares the voice of an innumerable host The tenth book of Paradise Lost has a of angels uttering hallelujahs, to the voice greater variety of persons in it than any of mighty thunderings, or of many waters:

-Behind her Death

He ended, and the heav'nly audience loud

His first appearance in the assembly of Sung hallelujah, as the sound of seas, Through multitude that sung: Just are thy ways,

fallen angels is worked up with circumRighteous are thy decrees in all thy works,

stances which give a delightful surprise to Who can extenuate thee?"

the reader: but there is no incident in the Though the author, in the whole course whole poem which does this more than the of his poem, and particularly in the book transformation of the whole audience, that we are now examining, has infinite allusions follows the account their leader gives them to places of Scripture, I have only taken of his expedition. The gradual change of notice in my remarks of such as are of a Satan himself is described after Ovid's poetical nature, and which are woven with manner, and may vie with any of those celegreat beauty into the body of his fable. brated transformations which are looked Of this kind is that passage in the present upon as the most beautiful parts in that book, where, describing Sin as marching poet's works. Milton never fails of imthrough the works of nature, he adds,

proving his own hints, and bestowing the last finishing touches in every incident which

is admitted into his poem. The unexpected Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet On his pale horse

hiss which arises in this episode, the dimen

sions and bulk of Satan so much superior to Which alludes to that passage in Scripture those of the infernal spirits who lay under so wonderfully poetical, and terrifying to the same transformation, with the annual the imagination: “And I looked, and be change which they are supposed to suffer, hold, a pale horse, and his name that sat are instances of this kind. The beauty of on him was Death, and Hell followed with the diction is very remarkable in this whole him: and power was given unto them over episode, as I have observed in the sixth the fourth part of the earth, to kill with paper of these remarks the great judgment sword, and with hunger, and with sickness, with which it was contrived. and with the beasts of the earth.' Under

The parts of Adam and Eve, or the huthis first head of celestial persons we must man persons, come next under our conlikewise take notice of the command which sideration. Milton's art is no where more the angels received, to produce the several shown, than in his conducting the parts of changes in nature, and sully the beauty of these our first parents. The representation creation. Accordingly they are represent. he gives of them, without falsifying the ed as infecting the stars and planets with story, is wonderfully contrived to influence malignant influences, weakening the light the reader with píty and compassion toof the sun, bringing down the winter into wards them. Though Adam involves the the milder regions of nature, planting winds whole species in misery, his crime proceeds and storms in several quarters of the sky, from a weakness which every man is instoring the clouds with thunder, and, in clined to pardon and commiserate, as it short, perverting the whole frame of the seems rather the frailty of human nature, universe to the condition of its criminal in- than of the person who offended. Every habitants. As this is a noble incident in one is apt to excuse a fault which he himthe poem, the following lines, in which we self might have fallen into. It was the exsee the angels heaving up the earth, and cess of love for Eve that ruined Adam and placing it in a different posture to the sum his posterity. I need not add, that the aufrom what it had before the fall of man, is thor is justified in this particular by many conceived with that sublime imagination of the fathers, and the most orthodox wriwhich was so peculiar to this great author: ters. Milton has by this means filled a • Some say he bid his angels turn askance

great part of his poem with that kind of The poles of earth twice ten degrees and more writing which the French critics call the From the sun's axle; they with labour push'd tendre, and which is in a particular manner Oblique the centric globe,

engaging to all

sorts of readers. We are in the second place to consider Adam and Eve, in the book we are now the infernal agents under the view which considering, are likewise drawn with such Milton has given us of them in this book. sentiments as do not only interest the reader It is observed, by those who would set forth in their afflictions, but raise in him the most the greatness of Virgil's plan, that he con- melting passions of humanity and comducts his reader through all the parts of the miseration. When Adam sees the several earth which were discovered in his time. changes of nature produced about him, he Asia, Africa, and Europe, are the several appears in a disorder of mind suitable to scenes of his fable. The plan of Milton's one who had forfeited both his innocence poem is of an infinitely greater extent, and and his happiness: he is filled with horror, fills the mind with many more astonishing remorse, despair; in the anguish of his circumstances. Satan, having surroanded heart he expostalates with his Creator for the earth seven times, departs at length having given him an unasked existence: from Paradise. We then see him steering his course among the constellations; and, Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay after having traversed the whole creation, To mould me man? Did I solicit thee pursuing his voyage through the chaos, and

From darkness to promote me ? or here place

In this delicious garden? As my will entering into his own infernal dominions.

Concurr'd not to my being, 'twere but sigba

And equal to reduce me to my dust,

Unbappily deceiv'd! Thy suppliant Desirous to resign, and render back

I beg, and clasp thy knees. Bereave me not All I receiv'd.

(Whereon I live ;) ihy gentle looks, thy aid,

Thy counsel in this uttermost distress, He immediately after recovers from his

My only strength, and stay! Forlorn of thee, presumption, owns his doom to be just, and Whither shall I betake me! where subsist ? begs that the death which is threatened him

While yet we live (scarce one short hour perhaps)

Between us two let there be peace.' &c. may be inflicted on him: -Why delays

Adam's reconcilement to her is worked His hand to execute what his decree

up in the same spirit of tenderness. Eve Fix'd on this day? Why do I Why am I mock'd with death, and lengthen'd out

afterwards proposes to her husband, in the To deathless pain? How gladly would I meet

blindness of her despair, that to prevent Mortality my sentence, and be earth

their guilt from descending upon posterity, Insensible! how glad would lay me down,

they should resolve to live childless; or, if As in my mother's lap! There should I rest And sleep secure; his dreadful voice no more

that could not be done, they should seek Would thunder in my ears: no fear of worse their own deaths by violent methods. To me, and to my offspring, would torment me As these sentiments naturally engage the With cruel expectation.”This whole speech is full of the like emo- with more than ordinary commiseration,

reader to regard the mother of mankind tion, and varied with all those sentiments they likewise contain a very fine moral. which we may suppose natural to a mind so l'he resolution of dying to end our miseries broken and disturbed. I must not omit that does not show such a degree of magnanimity generous concern which our first father as a resolution to bear them, and submit to shows in it for his posterity, and which is so the dispensations of Providence. Our auproper to affect the reader:

thor has, therefore, with great delicacy, re-Hide me from the face

presented Eve as entertaining this thought, Of God, whom to behold was then my height Of happiness! yet well, if here would end

and Adam as disapproving it. The misery: I deserved it, and would bear

We are, in the last place, to consider the My own deservings: but this will not serve; imaginary persons, or Death and Sin, who Ad that I eat, or drink, or shall beget, Is propagated curse, O voice once heard

act a large part in this book. Such beautiDelightfully, "Increase and multiply:"

ful extended allegories are certainly some Now death to hear!

of the finest compositions of genius; but, as In me all

I have before observed, are not agreeable Posterity stands curst! Fair patrimony, That I must leave ye, sons! O were I able

to the nature of a heroic poem. This of Sin To waste it all myself, and leave you none ! and Death is very exquisite in its kind, if So disinherited, how would you bless

not considered as a part of such a work. Me, now your curse! Ah, why should all mankind, For one inan's fault, thus guiltless be condemn'd

The truths contained in it are so clear and If guiltless? But from me what can proceed open, that I shall not lose time in explainBut all corrupt ?'

ing them; but shall only observe, that a Who can afterwards behold the father of reader, who knows the strength of the mankind, extended upon the earth, utter- English tongue, will be amazed to think ing his midnight complaints, bewailing his how the poet could find such apt words and existence, and wishing for death, without phrases to describe the actions of those two sympathizing with him in his distress?

imaginary persons, and particularly in that

part where Death is exhibited as forming a Through the still night; not now (as ere man fell) bridge over the chaos; a work suitable to Wholesome, and cool, and mild, but with black air, Accompanied with damps and dreadful gloom;

the genius of Milton. Which to his evil conscience represented

Since the subject I am upon gives me an All things with double terror. On the ground opportunity of speaking more at large of Outstretch'd he lay; on the cold ground! and on Care'd his creation; death as oft accus'd

such shadowy and imaginary persons as Of tardy execution.'

may be introduced into heroic poems, I The part of Eve in this book is no less ter which is curious in its kind, and which

shall beg leave to explain myself in a matpassionate, and apt to sway the reader in her favour. She is represented with great certain Homer and Virgil are full of ima

none of the critics have treated of. It is tenderness as approaching Adam, but is spurned from him with a spirit

of upbraid- ginary persons, who are very beautiful in ing and indignation, conformable to the na- poetry, when they are just shown without the dominion over him. The following pas- and 'ascribes a short part to him in his Iliad; ture of man, whose passions had now gained being engaged in any series of action. Ho

mer, indeed, represents sleep as a person, sage, wherein she is described as renewing but we must consider, that though we now her addresses to him, with the whole speech regard such a person as entirely shadowy that follows it, have something in them ex- and unsubstantial, the heathens made staquisitely moving and pathetic:

tues of him, placed him in their temples, He added not, and from her turn'd: but Eve,

and looked upon him, as a real deity. When Not so repuls'd, with tears that ceas'd not flowing, And tresses all disorder'd, at his feet

Homer makes use of other such allegorical Fell humble; and embracing thein besought persons, it is only in short expressions, His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint:

which convey an ordinary thought to the Forsake me not thus, Adam! Witness Heav'n

mind in the most pleasing manner, and may What love sincere. and rev'rence in my breast I bear thee aud unweeting have offended,

rather be looked upon as poetical phrases,

Thus Adam to himself lamented loud


than allegorical descriptions. Instead of glaring of her eyes might have scattered telling us

that men naturally fly when they infection. But I believe every reader will are terrified, he introduces the persons of think, that in such sublime writings the Flight and Fear, who he tells us, are in- mentioning of her, as it is done in Scripture, separable companions. Instead of saying has something in it more just, as well as that the time was come when Apollo ought great, than all that the most fanciful poet to have received his recompence, he tells could have bestowed upon her in the richus that the Hours brought him his reward. ness of his imagination.

L.* Instead of describing the effects which Minerva's ægis produced in battle, he tells us that the brims of it were encompassed No. 358.] Monday, April 21, 1712. by Terror, Rout, Discord, Fury, Pursuit, Massacre, and Death. In the same figure

-Desipere in loco. Hor. Od. xii. Lib. 4. ult. of speaking, he represents Victory as fol- 'Tis joyous folly that unbends the mind.- Francis. lowing Diomedes; Discord as the mother

CHARLES LILLY attended me the other of funerals and mourning; Venus as dressed by the Graces; Bellona as wearing Terror day, and made me a present of a large and Consternation like a garment. I might

sheet of paper, on which is delineated a give several other instances out of Homer, as ed at Stunsfield near Woodstock. t A person

pavement in Mosaic work, lately discoverhas likewise very often made use of the who has so much the gift of speech as Mr. same way of speaking, as where he tells us Lilly, and can carry on a discourse without that Victory sat on the

right hand of the a reply, had great opportunity on that ocMessiah, when he marched forth against casion to expatiate upon so fine a piece of the rebel angels; that, at the rising

of the ber he gave me his opinion, which he drew

antiquity. Among other things, I rememsun, the Hours unbarred the gates of light; from the ornaments of the work, that this that Discord was the daughter of Sin. Of the same nature are those expressions,

was the floor of a room dedicated to Mirth where, describing the singing of the night- and Concord. Viewing this work, made ingale, he adds, "Silence was pleased;' and sions I have read in ancient authors, which

my fancy run over the many gay expresupon the Messiah's bidding peace to the contained invitations to lay aside care and chaos, Confusion heard his voice.' I might anxiety, and give a loose to that pleasing add innumerable instances of our poet's forgetfulness wherein men put off their writing in this beautiful figure. It is plain characters of business, and enjoy their very that these I have mentioned, in which per-selves. These hours were usually passed sons of an imaginary nature are introduced; in rooms adorned for that purpose, and set are such short allegories as are not designed to be taken in the literal sense, but only out in such a manner, as the objects all to convey

particular circumstances to the around the company gladdened their hearts; manner.

But when such persons are intro- vigour to the airy, produced the latent fire reader, after an unusual and entertaining which, joined to the cheerful looks of wellduced as principal actors, and engaged in a of the modest, and gave grace to the slow series of adventures, they take too much upon them, and are by no means proper

for humour

of the reserved. A judicious mixan heroic poem, which ought to appear iets of flowers, and the whole apartment

ture of such company, crowned with chapforbear therefore thinking, that Sin and glittering with gay lights, cheered with a Death are as improper agents in a work of profusion of roses, artificial falls of water, this nature, as Strength and Necessity in and intervals of soft notes to songs of love presented those two persons nailing down life, and made a festival of mutual kindPrometheus to a rock; for which he has ness. Such parties of pleasure as these, been justly censured by the greatest critics and the reports of the agreeable passages I do not know any imaginary person made in their jollities, have in all ages awakened use of in a more sublime manner of thinking mirth and

good humour, without capacity

the dull part of mankind to pretend to than that in one of the prophets, who, de- for such entertainments; for if I may be scribing God as descending from heaven, and visiting the sins of mankind, adds that allowed to say so, there are a hundred men dreadful circumstance, “Before him went fit for any employment, to one who is capathe Pestilence. It is certain this imaginary ble of passing a night in company of the

member person might have been described in all first taste, without shocking any her purple spots. The Fever might have of the society, over-rating his own part marehed before her,

Pain might have stood of the conversation, but equally receiving at her right hand, Phrensy on her left, and Death in her rear. She might have been that now prefixed to No. 279.

* The original motto to this paper was the same as introduced as gliding down from the tail of

Reddere persone scit converientia cuique. a comet, or darted upon the earth in a flash

Hor. Ars Poet. v. 316. of lightning. She might have tainted the To each character he gives what best befits. atmosphere with her breath. The very | See Gough's British Topography, vol. ii. p. 88

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