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ses to the poet's father—they are an affecting acknowledgment of the benefits he had derived from that exemplary parent.


—— Thou hatedst not the gentle Muse,
My father! for thou never badst me tread
The beaten path, and broad, that lead'st right on
To opulence, nor didst condemn thy son
To the insipid clamours of the bar,
To laws voluminous, and ill observed :
But, wishing to enrich me more, to fill
My mind with treasure, ledst me far away
From city-din to deep retreats, to banks
And streams Aonian ; and, with free consent,
Didst place me happy at Apollo's side.

I speak not now, on more important themes
Intent, of common benefits, and such
As nature bids, but of thy larger gifts,
My Father! who, when I had opened once
The stores of Roman rhetoric, and learned
The full-toned language of the eloquent Greeks,
Whose lofty music graced the lips of Jove,
Thyself didst counsel me to add the flow'rs
That Gallia boasts, those too, with which the smooth
Italian his degen'rate speech adorns,
That witnesses his mixture with the Goth;
And Palestine's prophetic songs divine.

To sum the whole, whate'er the heav'n contains,
The earth beneath it, and the air between,
The rivers and the restless deep, may all
Prove intellectual gain to me, my wish
Concurring with thy will; science herself,
All cloud removed, inclines her beauteous head,
And offers me the lip, if dull of heart,
I shrink not, and decline her gracious boon.

Go now and gather dross, ye sordid minds,
That covet it; what could my Father more ?
What more could Jove himself, unless he gave
His own abode, the heav'n, in which he reigns ?
More eligible gifts than these were not


Apollo's to his son, had they been safe,
As they were insecure, who made the boy
The world's vice-luminary, bade him rule
The radiant chariot of the day, and bind
To his young brows his own all-dazzling wreath.

I therefore, although last and least, my place
Among the learned in the laurel grove
Will hold, and where the conqu'ror's ivy twines,
Henceforth exempt from the unletter'd throng
Profane, nor even to be seen by such.
Away, then, sleepless Care, Complaint, away,
And, Envy, with thy“ jealous leer malign!"
Nor let the monster Calumny shoot forth
Her venomed tongue at me. Detested foes !
Ye all are impotent against my peace,
For I am privileged, and bear my breast
Safe, and too high, for your viperian wound.

But thou! my Father, since to render thanks
Equivalent, and to requite by deeds
Thy liberality, exceeds my power,
Suffice it, that I thus record thy gifts,
And bear them treasured in a grateful mind!
Ye too, the favourite pastime of my youth,
My voluntary numbers, if ye dare
To hope longevity, and to survive
Your master's funeral, not soon absorbed
In the oblivious Lethæan gulf,
Shall to futurity perhaps convey
This theme, and by these praises of my sire
Improve the Fathers of a distant

age e !"

The boy, the world's vice-luminary.-In mythology it is related that Apollo, or the Sun, permitted his son Phaeton to drive the celestial coursers, which, according to the fable, bear the sun round the earth, and that the unpractised charioteer would have set the world on fire had he not been precipitated into the river Po.

Lethœan gulf. — Those who tasted the waters of Lethe forgot

the past.

Milton's minor pieces were written before he was thirty : the Paradise Lost was published when he had attained the age of sixty years. Comus, L'Allegro, and Penseroso, are delightful, but Paradise Lost has a power and elevation in it, a variety, and sublimity of excellence, which have given to Milton that rank as a sacred poet which belongs to him only. But his fame was not awarded to him while he lived his place in society was humble, and he was never distinguished during his life but by a few of his more discerning contemporaries.

"He stood alone," says Mr. Campbell, "and aloof above his times, the bard of immortal subjects, and, as far as there is perpetuity in language, of immortal fame. The very choice of those subjects bespoke a contempt of any species of excellence that was attainable by other men. There is something that overawes the mind in conceiving his long deliberated selection of that themehis attempting it when his eyes were shut upon the face of nature - his dependence, we might almost say, on supernatural inspiration, and in the calm air of strength with which he opens Paradise Lost, beginning a mighty performance without the appearance of an effort. Taking the subject all in all, his powers could no where else have enjoyed the same scope. It was only from the height of his great argument that he could look back upon eternity past, and forward upon eternity to come, that he could survey the abyss of infernal darkness, open visions of Paradise, or ascend to heaven and breathe empyreal air."

The subject of Paradise Lost, is taken from that portion of the Hebrew Scriptures which relates to our first parents. poses, what many Christians admit to be true in theology, that God placed the first human pair in a happy condition, and promised that they and all their posterity should remain for ever in that happy state, provided they would obey God; but that, if they would disobey the divine commands, they should be punished. They disobeyed God, were driven out of Paradise, and they and all their descendants were, thenceforth, made liable to sin, sorrow, and death.

Satan, a malignant spirit, tempted the first woman to break the prohibition of God, she tempted her husband, and both, in consequence of their weakness, were driven out from Eden, their primitive dwelling-place, and destined to "labour and sorrow" in some other region. The only alleviation which their expulsion from Paradise admitted, was the promise of God, that “ greater man" than Adam should restore his descendants to the moral image of God, which they had forfeited, and likewise reconcile them to God's government and will.

It sup


In the XIth Book of the Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve, after they had broken the divine command, are represented as lament. ing their offence, when Michael, a spirit sent from God, descends to them, and commands them to leave their native Paradise. Pero ceiving his approach, Adam to Eve

“ thus spake :
Eve, now except great tidings, which perhaps
Of us will soon determine, or impose
New laws to be observed; for I descry
From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hill
One of the heav'nly host, and by his gait,
None of the meanest, some great potentate
Or of the thrones above, such majesty
Invests him coming ; yet not terrible,
That I should fear, nor sociably mild,
As Raphael, that I should much confide,
But solemn and sublime, whom not t'offend,
With rev'rence I must meet, and thou retire.

He ended; and the Archangel soon drew nigh,
Not in his shape celestial, but as man
Clad to meet man ; over his lucid arms
A military vest of purple flowed,
Livelier than Melibœan, or the grain
Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old
In time of truce ; Iris had dipt the woof;
His starry helm unbuckled showed him prime
In manhood where youth ended ; by his side
As in a glist'ning zodiac hung the sword,
Satan's dire dread, and in his hand the spear.
Adam bowed low : he kingly from his state
Inclined not, but his coming thus declared :

Adam, heaven's high behest no preface needs :
Sufficient that thy prayers are heard, and death,
Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress,
Defeated of his seizure many days
Given thee of grace, wherein thou may'st repent.
And one bad act with many deeds well done
May'st cover : well may then thy Lord appeased
Redeem thee quite from Death's rapacious claim ;
But longer in this Paradise to dwell
Permits not; to remove thee I am come,

And send thee from the garden forth to till
The ground whence thou was taken, fitter soil.

He added not, for Adam at the news
Heart-struck with chilling grip of sorrow stood,
That all his senses bound ; Eve, who unseen
Yet all had heard, with audible lament

Discover'd soon the place of her retire." A military vest, &c.—This magnificent attire of the archangel is compared with that of Asiatic kings, who in ancient times endeavoured in their warfare to astonish their enemies by their splendour, as well as to overcome them by their military prowess.

Iris had dipt the woof.The woof of any texture is composed of the transverse threads which interlace the threads that form the warp of the woven substance. Iris is the goddess of the rainbow, which exhibits all the prismatic colours, and consequently the most pure and vivid hues in nature.


The archangel fulfils the commission with which God had intrusted him with peculiar tenderness to our first parents. They are not driven without gracious preparation into an untried condition of existence. Michael“ ascends in the vision of God" with Adam, and foreshows to him the degeneracy and misery of his posterity, but to console him for these tremendous prospects, he reveals to him " salvation by Jesus Christ"—the reformation of a " perverted world," and the commencement of a kingdom,

“ Founded in righteousness and peace and love,

To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss." Thus enlightened and encouraged, Adam submissively replies to his celestial visitant

Greatly instructed I shall hence depart,
Greatly in peace of thought, and have my fill
Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain ;
Beyond which was my folly to aspire.
Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best,
And love with fear the only God, to walk
As in his presence, ever to observe
His providence, and on him sole depend ;
Merciful over all his works, with good
Still overcoming evil, and by small

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