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Satan having compass’d the Earth, with meditated
guile returns as a mist by night into Paradise, enters into the serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the morning go forth to their labors, which Eve
proposes to divide in several places, each laboring apart : Adam consents not, alledging the danger, left that enemy, of whom they were forewarn’d, should attempt her found alone: Eve loath to be thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart,
the rather desirous to make trial of her strength; Adam at last yields: The Serpent finds her alone; his subtle approach, first gazing, then speaking, with much fattery extolling Eve above all other creatures. Eve wond'ring to hear the Serpent speak, asks how he attain’d to human speech and such understanding not till now; the Serpent answers, that by tasting of a certain tree in the garden he attain'd both to speech and reason, till then void of both: Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the tree of knowledge forbidden: The Serpent now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments induces her at length to eat; she pleas’d with the taste deliberates a while whether to impart thereof to Adam or not, at last brings him of the fruit, relates what
persuaded her to eat thereof: Adam at first amaz'd, but perceiving her lost, resolves through vehemence of love to perish with her; and extenuating the trespass eats also of the fruit: The effects thereof in them both; they seek to cover their nakedness; then fall to variance and accusation of one another.
PARADISE LOS T.
в о O 0 K
O more of talk where God or Angel guest
1. No more of talk &c.] These But as Mr. Thyer adds, however prologues or prefaces of Milton to some critics and Monsieur Voltaire some of his books, speaking of his may condemn a poet's sometimes diown person, lamenting his blindness, gresting from his subject to speak of
and preferring his subject to those of himself, it is very certain that Mil· Homer and Virgil and the greatest ton was of a very different opinion poets before him, are condemn'd by long before he thought of writing some critics : and it must be allow'd this poem. For in his discourse of that we find no such digression in the Reason of Church-Government the Iliad or Æneid; it is a liberty &c. apologizing for saying so much - that can be taken only by such a of himself as he there does, he adds,
genius as Milton, and I question “ For although a poet, foaring in the whether it would have succeeded in bigh region of his fancies, with
any hands but his. As Monfieur Vol. “ bis garland and finging robes about ;taire says upon the occafion, I can- " bim, might, without apology, Speak
not but own that an author is gene more of himself than I mean to do ; rally guilty of an unpardonable self-“ yet for me fitting here below in love, when he lays afide his subject w the cool element of prose, a mora to descant upon his own person: ss tal thing among many readers of but that human frailty is to be for- " no empyreal conceit, to venture given in Milton; nay I am pleased " and divulge unusual things of mywith it. He gratifies the curiosity “ self, I fall petition to the gentler he has raised in me about his person; “ fort, it may not be envy to me.” when I admire the author, I desire Vol. 1. · p. 59.
Edit. 1738. to know something of the man; and
where God or Angel guef] he, whom all readers would be glad Dr. Bentley says that God did not to know, is allow'd to speak of him- partake rural repast with Adam, and felf. But this however is a very dan- therefore he thinks that the author gerous example for a genius of an gave it where facial Angel gueft &c.
inferior order, and is only to be jufti- But social is useless here, because fa( fed by success. See Voltaire's Essay miliar follows in the next verse. The on epic poetry, p. 111,
sense seems to be this ; Where God,
To fit indulgent, and with him partake
Now or rather the Angel sent by him and di&ion. But why God or Angel guel! acting as his proxy, us’d to fit fami- Read that chapter, and will be liarly with Man as with his friend &c. seen that this remarkable exprefken Hence Raphael is called Adam's is taken from the ambiguity there. Godlike Guest, V. 351. Pearce. The Lord and the Young Men (always Milton, who knew and Audy'd the understood to be Angels) are ufed Scripture thoroughly, and continue as words of the same fignification, ally profits himself of its vaft fubli- denoting that the divine presence mity, as well as of the more noble was so effectually with his messentreasures it contains, and to which gers, that Himself was also there; his poem owes its greatest luftre,
has Such privilege hatb omnipresence; He done it here very remarkably. The went, yet flay'd, as in VII. 589. The episode, which has employ'd almost fame Milton intimates in the passage a third part of the work, and is a before us; and 'tis a master stroke discourse betwixt the Angel Raphael of sublimity. Richardsor. and Adam, is plainly copy'd from Mr. Richardson, in saying The Lord the XVIIIth Chapter of Genesis, and the Young Men (always under flered which (by the way) bas a sublimity to be Angels) are used as words of the and air of antiquity to which Homer same signification, does not seem to himself is Aat and modern : Here be appris'd, that it was an ancient God or Angel guest holds discourse opinion, and believed too by many with Abraham as friend with friend, of the more modern scholars
, that fits indulgent, partakes rural repast, the Lord in this passage was God permitting him the while discourse in the Son, and the two others only his turn. No more must now be Angels. Thyer. fung of such a heavenly conversation. Besides it may be question'd, wheGod himself indeed is not properly ther Milton refin'd in this manner; a speaker in it, though Adam in his and it seems to me as if a difficulty part of it relates his having been was made where no difficulty is. honor'd with the divine presence, The poet says, that he must now and a celesial colloquy, VIII. 455: treat no more of familiar discourse as several others, XI. 318, &c. All with either God or Angel. For hithe; to is evident beyond contra. Adam had held discourse with God
in XL. 627.
Now alienated, distance and distaste,
OF as we read in the preceding book, That brought into this world (a and the whole foregoing episode is world of woe) a conversation with the Angel, and Sin and her shadow Death, as this takes up so large a part of the poem, this is particularly de
but I fancy the other will be found fcribd and infifted
more agreeable to Milton's file and here. The
upon Lord God and the Angel Michael manner. We have a similar instance boch indeed afterwards discourse with Adam in the following books, but
The world ere long a world of tears those discourses are not familiar conversation as with a friend, they are But in these instances Milton was of a different strain, the one coming corrupted by the bad taste of the to judge, and the other to expel him times, and by reading the Italian from Paradise.
poets, who abound with such verbal
quaintnesses. - I now must change
and Mifery Those notes to tragic;] As the au
Deatb's harbinger :) Dr. Bentley thor is now changing his subject, he profeffes likewise to change his file reads Malady; because, as there is agreeably to it. The reader there Misery after death, so there is Mifery, fore must not expect such lofty images invoke it in vain. But by Misery
which does not usher in death, but i and descriptions, as before. What
here, Milton means fickness, disease, follows is more of the tragic strain than of the epic
. Which may serve and all sorts of mortal pains. So as an answer to those critics, who when in XI. Michael is going to censure the latter books of the Pa. name the several diseases in the lazarradise Loft as falling below the house represented to Adam in a vi
fion, he says ver. 475. former.
that thou may'ft know 11. That brought into this world a world of woe,] The pun or
What misery th’inabstinence of Eve
Pearce, what shall I call it in this line may
Shall bring on men. be avoided, as a great man observed 13. Sad task, yet argument] to me, by distinguishing thus, The Paradise Lost, even in this latter
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursu'd
my celestial patroness, who deigns Her nightly visitation unimplor'd,
part of it, concerning God's anger he boasts of ber nightly visitation, as
beneath, and afterwards promis'd to Æneas That waih thy hallow'd feet, and according to Virgil, or Neptune's ire
warbling flow, that so long perplex'd the Greek, Ulysses
. as we read in the Odyssey, or Juno's Nightly I visit. ire that for so many years perplex'd And it is probable that in both these Cytherea's son, Æneas as we read at passages he alludes to the beginning large in the Æneid. The anger that of Hefiod's Theogony, where he he is about to sing is an argument mentions likewise the Muses walking more heroic not only than the an- by night, ver. 10. ger of men, of Achilles and Turnus, Eyruxiue serxo", a sexanned or but than that even of the Gods, of Neptune and Juno. The anger of the true God is a more noble subject 23.
or inspires than of the false Gods. In this re Easy my unpremeditated verse:] spect he has the advantage of Homer Here is the same kind of beauty that and Virgil, his argument is more we observed before in III. 37. The heroic as he says, if he can but make verse flows so easy, that it seems to his ftile answerable.
have been made without premedi21. - my celeftial patrone/s,] His tation. beav'nly Muse, his Urania, whom he 26.-long choosing, and begiming had invok'd 1. 6. VII. 1, 31. And late ;] Our author intended