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Of colour glorious and effect so rare?
Uriel, for thou of those seven spirits that stand
623. Whom John saw. See Rev. xix. 17. I two Hebrew words, meaning God is my
627. Illustrious, lustrous; fledge, fur- light. He is mentioned as the good annished.
gel in the second book of Esdras; and 634. He casts; he considers, meditates, the Jews and some Christians conceive purposes.
him to be an angel of light, according to 643. Succinct, prepared, ready for action. his name, and therefore he has properly 654. Uriel. His name is derived from his station in the sun.--NEWTON.
Where all his sons thy embassy attend;
So spake the false dissembler un perceived;
Fair angel, thy desire, which tends to know
686. Though wisdom wake. There is poct shown in taking off the dryness of not, in my opinion, & nobler sentiment. / a mere moral sentence, by throwing it or one more poetically expressed in the into the form of a short and bautiful whole poem. What great art has the allegory !-THYER.
That brought them forth, but hid their causes deep?
'Thus said, he turn'd; and Satan, bowing low,
716. This ethereal, &c. Our author bor and taking a survey of the whole face Towed this notion from Aristotle and of nature that appeared to him new and others of the ancient philosophers, who fresh in all its beauties, with the simile suppored that besides the four elements, illustrating this circumstance, filie the there was likewise an ethereal quintes mind of the reader with as surprising fence or fifth essence, out of which the and glorious an idea as any that arises stars and heavens were formed, and that in the whole poem. He looks down into 'ts motion was orbicular.-NEWTON. that vast hollow of the universe with the
742. Niphates. This is a range of moun eye, or as Milton calls it in his first look, tains in Armenia, forming a part of the with the ken of an angel. He surveys great chain of Mount Taurus, and south all the wonders in this immense amphiof lake Van. This ridge is chosen as the theatre that lies between both the poles one on which Satan lights, as it is in the of heaven, and takes in at one view the supposed region of Paradise.
whole round of the creation, "Satan, after having wandered upon the His flight between the several worlds surface, or utmost wall of the universe, that shined on every side of him, and discovers at last a wide gap in it, which the particular description of the sun, led into the creation, and is described as are set forth in all the wantonness of a the opening through which the angels luxuriant imagination. His shape, speech, pass to and fro into the lower world, and behaviour, upon bis transforming upon their errands to mankind. This himself into an angel of light, are touched sitting upon the brink of this passage, / with exquisite beauty."-ADDISON.
REMARKS ON BOOK IV.
We may consider the beauties of the fourth book under three heads. In the first are those pictures of still-life, which we meet with in the description of Eden, Paradise, Adam's bower, &c.: in the next are the machines, which comprehend the speeches and behaviour of the good and bad angels: in the last is the conduct of Adam and Eve, who are the principal actors in the poem.
In the description of Paradise, the poet bas observed Aristotle's rule of lavishing all the oruaments of diction on the weak inactive parts of the fable which are not supported by the beauty of sentiments and chameters. Accordingly, the reader may observe, that the expressions are more florid and elaborate in these descriptions, than in most other parts of the poem. This description of Paradise is wonderfully beautiful, and formed upon the short sketch which we have of it in Holy Writ. Milton's exuberance of imagination has poured forth such a redundancy of ornamnents on this seat of happiness and innocence, that it would be endless to point out each particular.
We are in the next place to consider the machines of the fourth book. Satan, being now within prospect of Eden, and looking round upon the glories of the creation, is filled with sentiments different from those which he discovered whilst he was in hell. The place inspires him with thoughts more adapted to it.
The thought of Satan's transformation into a cormorant, ver. 196, and placing himself on the Tree of Life, seems raised upon that passage in the Iliad, where two deities are described as perching on the top of an oak, in the shape of vultures.
The description of Adam and Eve, as they first appeared to Satan, is exquisitely drawn, and sufficient to make the fallen angel gaze upon them with all that astonishment, and those emotions of envy, in which he is represented.
There is a fine spirit of poetry in the lines which follow, wherein they are described as sitting on a bed of flowers by the side of a fountain, amidst à mixed assembly of animals. The speeches of these first two lovers flow equally from passion and sincerity: the professions they make to one another are full of warmth; but at the same time founded on truth: in a word, they are the gallantries of Paradise. The part of Eve's speech, in which she gives an account of herself upon her first creation, and the manner in which she was brought to Adam, is, I think, as beautiful a passage as any in Milton, or perhaps in any other poet
r. These passages are all worked off with so much art, that they are capable of pleasing the most delicate reader, without offending the most severe:
That day I oft remember, when from sleep, &c. A poet of less judgment and invention than this great author would have found it very difficult to have filled these tender parts of the poen with sentiments proper for a state of innocence; to have described the warmth of love, and the professions of it, without artifice or hyperbole; to have made the man speak the most endearing things without descending from his natural dignity, and the woman receiving them without departing from the modesty of character: in a word, to adjust the prerogatives of wisdom and beauty, and make each appear to the other in its proper force and loveliness. This mutual subordination of the two sexes is wonderfully kept up in the whole poem, as particularly in the speech of Eve I have before mentioned, and upon the conclusion of it; when the poet adds, that the devil turned away with envy at the sight of so much happiness, v. 492, &c.
We have another view of our first parents in their evening discourses, which is full of pleasing images and sentiments suitable to their condi. tion and characters. The speech of Eve, in particular, is dressed up in such a soft and natural turn of words and sentiments, as cannot be sufficiently admired.
Satan's planting himself at the ear of Eve under the form of a toad, in order to produce vain dreams and imaginations, is a striking circumstance; as his starting up in his own form is wonderfully fine, both in the literal description, and in the inoral which is concealed under it. His answer upon his being discovered, and deinanded to give an account of biinself, is conformable to the pride and intrepidity of his character.
Zephon's rebuke, with the influence it bad on Satan, is exquisitely graceful and moral. Satan is afterwards led away to Gabriel, the chief of the guardian angels, who kept watch in Paradise. His disdainful behaviour on this occasion is so remarkable a beauty, that the most ordinary reader cannot but take notice of it: Gabriel's discovering his approach at a distance is drawn with great strength and liveliness of imagination.
The conference between Gabriel and Satan abounds with sentiments proper for the occasion, and suitable to the persons of the two speakers. Satan clothing himself with terror when he prepares for the combat is truly sublime, and at least equal to Homer's description of Discord, celebrated by Longinus; or to that of Fame, in Virgil; who are both represented with their feet standing upon the earth, and their heads reaching above the clouds.-- ADDison.
Milton, like Dante, had been unfortunate in ambition and in love. He had survived his health and his sight, the comforts of his home, and the prosperity of his party. Of the great men by whom he had been distinguished, some had been taken away from the evil to come : some had taken into foreign climates their unconquerable hatred of oppression: some were pining in dungeons, and some had poured forth their blood on scaffolds. If ever despondency and asperity could be excused in any man, they might have been excused in Milton; but the strength of bis mind overcame every calamity. His temper was serious, perhaps stern; but it was a temper which no sufferings could render sullen or fretful. Such as it was, when, on the eve of great events, he returned from his travels, in the prime of health and manly beauty, loaded with literary distinctions, and glowing with patriotic hopes—such it continued to be--when, after having experienced every calamity which is incident to our nature, old, poor, sightless, and disgraced, he retired to his hovel to die!
Hence it was, that though he wrote the Paradise Lost at a time of life wben images of beauty and tenderness are, in general, beginning to fade, even from those minds in which they have not been effaced by anxiety and disappointment, he adorned it with all that is most lovely and delightful in the physical and in the moral world. Neither Theocritus nor Ariosto had a finer or a more healthful sense of the pleasantness of external objects, or loved better to luxuriate amidst sunbeams and towers, the songs of nightingales, the juice of summer fruits, and the coolness of shady fountains. His poetry reminds us of the miracles of Alpine scenery: nooks and dells, beautiful as fairy land, are embosomed in its most rugged and gigantic elevations. The roses and myrtles bloom unchilled on the verge of the avalanche.-MACAULAY.