« AnteriorContinuar »
from the position which they occupy. So placed, their plainness is their strength and their spell: ornamented language would have weakened them. Of all styles, the uniformly florid is the most fatiguing.
That Milton could bring so much learning, as well as so much imaginative invention, to bear on every part of his infinitely-extended, yet thick-compacted fable, is truly miraculous. Were the learning superficial and loosely applied, the wonder would not be great, or not nearly so great; but it is always profound, solid, conscientious; and in its combinations original.
Bishop Atterbury has said, in opposition to the general opinion, that che allegory of Sin and Death is one of the finest inventions of the poem. I agree with him most sincerely. The portress of the gates of hell sits there in a character, and with a tremendous figure and attributes, which no imagination less gigantic than Milton's could have drawn. Is it to be objected that Sin and Death are imaginary persons, when all the persons of the poem, except Adam and Eve, are imaginary? Realities, in the strict sense, do not make the most essential parts of poetry.
Sir EGERTON BRYDGES.
The character of Satan is pride and sensual indulgence, finding in self the sole motive of action. It is the character so often seen in little on the political stage. It exhibits all the restlessness, temerity, and cunning, which have marked the mighty hunters of mankind, from Nimrod to Napoleon. The common fascination of men is, that these great men, as they are called, must act from some great motive. Milton bas carefully marked in his Satan the intense selfishness, the alcohol of egotism, which would rather reign in hell than serve in heaven. To place this lust of self in opposition to denial of self, or duty, and to show what
it would make, and what pains endure to accomplish its end, is Milton's particular object in the character of Satan. But around this character he has thrown a singularity of daring, a grandeur of sufferance, and a ruined splendour, which constitute the very height of poetio sublimity.
THE ARGUMEN T.
The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle be to be hazarded for the recovery of heaven: some advise it, others dissuade. A third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan, to search the truth of that prophecy or tradition in heaven concerning another world, and another kind of creature, equal or not much inferiour to themselves, about this time to be created : their doubt who shall be sent on this difficult search: Satan, their chief, undertakes alone the voyage, is honoured and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake tbem several ways, and to several employments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his journey to hell gates; finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them; by whom at length they are opened, and discover to him the great gulf between hell and heaven; with what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the Power of that place, to the sight of this new world which he sought.
High on a throne of royal state, which far
Powers and Dominions, Deities of heaven,
2. The Island of Ormus, in the Persian at the coronation of their kings, to Gulf, was formerly a vast emporium of powder them with gold dust and seedIndian trade, and celebrated for its pearl. The term barbaric is from the wealth and its extended commerce all Greek barbarikos, applied by Herodotus to orer Asia. It was the eastern ceremony, the Persians.-9. Success, i. e. bad success.
Yielded with full consent. The happier state
He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptred king,
My sentence is for open war: of wiles, More unexpert, I boast not: them let those Contrive who need, or when they need, not now. For while they sit contriving, shall the rest, Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait The signal to ascend, sit lingering here Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame, The prison of his tyranny who reigns By our delay? no; let us rather choose, Arm’d with hell flames and fury, all at once O’er heaven's high towers to force resistless way, Turning our tortures into horrid arms Against the Torturer; when to meet the noise Of his almighty engine he shall hear Infernal thunder; and for lightning see Black fire and horrour shot with equal rage Among his angels; and his throne itself Mix'd with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire, His own invented torments. But perhaps The way seems difficult and steep, to scale With upright wing against a higher fve. Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench Of that forgetful lake benumm not still, That in our proper inotion we ascend
Up to our native seat: descent and fall
He ended frowning, and his look denounced
I should be much for open war, 0 Peers,
Sy. Erercise, in the sense of the Latin metaphorical or figurative word. In what ucrcen, “to vex," "to trouble."
then does the beauty consist? In the 92. In penance, to punishment.
justness of the thouht, in the propriety 104. Fulal throne, that is, upheld by fate. of The expression, in the art of the com
106. He ended frowning, &c. * Nobody position, and in the variety of the versi. of any taste or understanding will deny fication."-LORD MONBODDO. He means the beauty of the following paragraph, the whole of Belial's speech, from the in the whole of which there is not one 119th to the 225th line.
Main reason to persuade immediate war,
In what he counsels and in what excels
138. Would on his throne, &c. “This is throne itself of God with infernal sul9 reply to that part of Moloch's speech, phur and strange fire."-NEWTON. where he had threatened to mix the 150, Ipotence, weakness of mind.