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REMARKS ON BOOK III.
I Caxxor admit this book to be inferior in poetical merit to those which precede it: the argumentative parts give a pleasing variety. The unfavourable opinion bas arisen from a narrow view of the nature of poetry : from the theory of those who think that it ought to be confined to description and imagery. On the contrary, the highest poetry consists more of spirit than of matter. Matter is only good so far as it is imbued with spirit, or causes spiritual exaltation. Among the innumerable grand descriptions in Milton, I do not believe there is one which stands unconnected with complex intellectual considerations, and of which those considerations do not form a leading part of the attraction. The learned allusions may be too deep for the common reader; and so far the poet is above the reach of the multitude : but even then they create a certain vague stir in unprepared minds:names indistinctly heard ; visions dimly seen; constant recognitions of Scriptural passages, and sacred names, awfully impressed on the memory from childhood, awaken the sensitive understanding with sacred and mysterious movements,
We do not read Milton in the same light mood as we read any other poet: his is the imagination of a sublime instructor: we give our faith through duty, as well as will. If our fancy flags, we strain it, that we may apprehend: we know that there is something which our conception ought to reach. There is not an idle word in any of the delineations which the bard exhibits; nor is any picture merely addressed to the senses. Every thing therefore is invention ;- arising from novelty or complexity of combination: nothing is a mere reflection from the mirror of the fancy. Milton early broke loose from the narrow bounds of observation; and
ckless regions of air, and worlds of spirits,-the good and the bad. There his pregnant imagination imbodied new states of existence; and out of Chaos drew form, and life, and all that is grand, and beautiful, and godlike: and yet he so mingled them up with materials from the globe in which we are placed, that it is an unpardonable error to say that “Paradise Lost" contains little applicable to human interests. The human learning and wisdom contained in every page are inexhaustible.
On this account no other poem requires so many explanatory notes, drawn from all the most extensive stores of erudition.
of classical literature, and of the Italian poets, Milton was a perfect master: he often replenished his images and forms of expression from Homer and Virgil, and yet never was a servile borrower. There is an added pleasure to what in itself is beautiful, from the happiness of his adaptations.
I do not doubt that what he wrote was from a coniunction of genius. learning, art, and labour; but the grand source of all his poetical conceptions and language was the Scriptures. Sir EGERTON BRYDGES.
lop sitting on his throne sees Satan flying towards this world, then
reated; shows him to the Son, who sat at his right hand: foretells the success of Satan in perverting mankind: clears his own justice and wisdom from all inputation, having created man free, and able enough to have withstood his tempter; yet declares his purpose of grace towards bim, in regard he fell not of his own malice, as did Satan, but by him seduced. The Son of God renders praises to his Father for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards man ; but God again declares, that grace cannot be extended towards mau without the satisfaction of divine justice; man hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to Godhead, and therefore with all his progeny devoted to death must die, unless some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergo his punishment. The Son of God freely offers himself a ransom for man; the Fatber accepts him, ordains his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation above all names in heaven and earth; commands all the angels to adore him; they obey, and, hymning to their harps in full quire, celebrate the Father and the Son. Meanwhile, Satan alights upon the bare convex of this world's outermost orb; where wandering he first finds a place, since called the Limbo of Vanity; what persons and things fly up thither; thence comes to the gate of heaven, described ascending by stairs, and the waters above the firmament that flow about it; his passage thence to the orb of the sun; he finds there Uriel, the regent of that orb; but first changes himself into the shape of a meaner angel; and, pretending a zealous desire to behold the new creation, and man whom God had placed here, inquires of him the place of his habitation, and is directed; alights first on Mount Niphates.
Hail, holy Light! offspring of heaven first-born,
1. Tail, holy Light! This celebrated thou rather hear this address-dost thou complaint, with which Milton opens the delight rather to be called pure ethereal tbird book, deserves all the praises which stream! have been given it.-ADDISON.
8. Whose fountain. Job xxxvii. 10. 7. Or hear'st thou rather, &c. Or dost
Escaped the Stygian pool, though long detain'd
Now had the Almighty Father from above,
16. Through the utter darkness of Hell, | served for the hand of Milton: and for and the middle darkness of the great him, and him only, to find the bays of gulf between Hell and Heaven.
Mount Olivet equally verdant with those 30. The flowery brooks beneath. Head of Parnassus." ley (not the American dirine (?) who has 35. Blind Thamyris. Thamyris was a done so much by his writing to cultivate Thracian, and invented the Dorie inoo the war-spirit, but) the elegant and taste or measure: Mannides is Homer, so ful English poet and critic, beautifully called from his father Moon. Tiresias remarks, in a criticism on Quarles's poe- and Phineus, the one a Theban, the other try, that “to mix the waters of Jordan a king of Arcadia, (famous blind baris and Helicon in the same cup, was re- of antiquity.)
From the pure empyrean where he sits
Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage
98. Just and right. Eccles. vii. 29.
What pleasure I from such obedience paid?
Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill'd
O Father, gracious was that word which closed
108. Reason also is choice. “Many there son is but choosing: he had been else a be that complain of Divine Providence, mere artificial Adam!"-MILTON'S Areopa. for suffering Adam to transgrers. Fool- gilica. Ish tongues! When God gave him reason, 140. Substantially erpress'd. Heb. i. 3 he gave him freedom to choose; for rea 153. From thee far. Gen. xviii. 25.