Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

393

[blocks in formation]

A

S one who in his journey bates at noon,
Though bent on speed; so here the Arch-

Angel paus'd
Betwixt the world destroy'd and world restor’d,
If Adam ought perhaps might interpose;
Then with transition sweet new speech resumes. 5

Thus thou hast seen one world begin and end;
And man as from a second stock proceed.
Much thou hast yet to see, but I perceive
Thy mortal sight to fail; objects divine
Must needs impair and weary human sense:
Henceforth what is to come I will relate,

Thou

1ο

1. As one &c.] In the first edi. history of mankind to the first great tion, before the last book was di- period of nature, dispatches the vided into two, the narration went remaining part of it in narration. on without any interruption; but He has devised a very handsome upon that division in the second reason for the Angel's proceeding edition, these first five lines were with Adam after this manner; inserted. This addition begins the though doubtless the true reason book very gracefully, and is in- was the difficulty which the poet deed (to apply the author's own would have found to have shadowwords) a sweet tranfition.

ed out so mixed and complicated a 11. Henceforth what is to come 1 story in visible objects. I could

will relate,] Milton, after wish, however, that the author had having represented in vision the done it, whatever pains it might

Thou therefore give due audience, and attend.
This second source of men, while

yet but few,
And while the dread of judgment past remains
Fresh in their minds, fearing the Deity,
With some regard to what is just and right
Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace,
Lab’ring the soil, and reaping plenteous crop,

Corn

15

have cost him. To give my opi- towards mankind, and the moh nion freely, I think that the exhi- sublime and deep truths both of the biting part of the history of man- Jewish and Chriftian theology, it kind in vision, and part in narra- muft excite no less admiration in tive, is as if an history-painter the mind of an attentive reader, fhould put in colors one half of his than the more spritely seenes of fubject," and write down the re- love and innocence in Eden, or maining part of it. If Milton's the more turbulent ones of angeħc poem flags any where, it is in this war in Heaven. This contrivance narration, where in fome places of Milton's to introduce into his the author has been so attentive to poem so many things posterior to his divinity, that he has neglected the time of action fird in his first his poetry. The narration how- plan, by a visionary prophetic reever rises very happily on several lation of them, is, it mult be al. occasions, where the subject is ca- low'd, common with our author to pable of poetical ornaments, as Virgil and most epic poets fince his particularly in the confufion which time; but there is one thing to be he describes among the builders of observ'd fingular in our English Babel, and in his short sketch of poet, which is, that whereas they the plagues of Egypt. Addison. have all done it principally, if not Mr. Addison observes, that if Mil- wholly, to have an opportunity of son's poem flags any where, it is in complimenting their own country this narration; and to be sure, if we and friends, he has not the leart have an eye only to poetic decora- mention of, or friendly allufion to tion, his remark is just: but if we his. The Reformation of our view it in another light, and con- Church from the errors and tyfider in how short a compass he ranny of popery, which corruphas compris'd, and with what tions he so well describes and pafrength and clearness he has ex- thetically laments, afforded him pressd the various actings of God occafion fair enough, and no doubt

20

Corn wine and oil; and from the herd or flock,
Oft facrificing bullock, lamb, or kid,
With large wine-offerings pour’d, and facted feaft,
Shall spend their days in joy unblam'd, and dwell
Long time in peace by families and tribes
Under paternal rule: till one shall rise
Of proud ambitious heart, who not content 25

With

his not doing it must be imputed for fo doing. The Scripture says to his mind's being so unhappily of Nimrod, Gen. X. 9. that he was imbitter'd, at the time of his writ- a mighty hunter before the Lord: And ing, against our government both this our author understands in the in church and fate; so that to the worst fense, of hunting men and many other mischiefs flowing from not beasts

and men not beasis the grand rebellion we may add fall be bis game. But several comthis of its depriving Britain of the mentators understand it in the same beft panegyric it is ever likely to manner, and the Scripture applies have. Tbyer.

the word to hunting of men by

persecution, oppreftion, and ty16. With some regard to what is

. . IV juft and righe This answers ranny: Jer. XVI. 16. Lam. ix.

juft and right] This answers 18. Ezek. XIII. 18, 20. And fo to the silver age of the poets, the the Jerusalem Targum here exParadisiacal fate is the golden one. pounds it of a finful bunting of the That of iron begins soon, ver. 24. fons of men. The phrase before the

Richardson. "Lord feems to be perfectly indiffe24. till one all rise &c.] It rent in itself, and inade use of only is generally agreed that the first by way of exaggeration : but in governments in the world were pa- this place the greatest number of triarchal, by families and tribes, and interpreters take it in a bad sense, that Nimrod was the first who laid in the same manner as when it is the foundations of kingly govern- faid of the men of Sodom that ment among mankind. Our author they were finners before the_Lord, therefore (who was no friend to Gen. XIII. 13. as alfo of Er the kingly government at the best) re- eldest son of Judah that he was presents him in a very bad light as wicked in the light of the Lord, Gen. à molt wicked and insolent tyrant, XXXVIII. 7. And St. Austin in but he has great authorities, both particular would have it translated Jewish and Christian, to justify him not before the Lord but against the

Lord.

Book XII

30

With fair equality, fraternal state,
Will arrogate dominion undeserv'd
Over his brethren, and quite dispossess
Concord and law of nature from the earth,
Hunting (and men not beasts shall be his game)
With war and hostile snare such as refuse
Subjection to his empire tyrannous :
A mighty hunter thence he shall be stild
Before the Lord, as in despite of Heaven,
Or from Heav'n claming second sovranty;
And from rebellion shall derive his name,
Though of rebellion others he accuse.

35

Hc

clamer.

Lord, Our author, in conformity clame, proclame, &c. being derived to this opinion, says

from the Latin clamo and the French Before the Lord, as in despite of Heaven,

And from rebellion fall derive lis

name, but then takes in the other interpretation of Vatablus and others, for the name Nimrod, tho' more that before the Lord is the same as favorable etymologies are given, under the Lord, ufurping all autho- yet commonly is derived from the rity to himself next under God, Hebrew word marad which figniand claming it Jure divino, as was fies to rebel; and this probably was done in Milton's own time; the principal occafion of those inOr from Heav'n claming fecond jurious reports which have prevailed

in the world concerning him. sovranty ; claming, fo Milton fpells the word Though of rebellion others be accak. in this place, and so he spells re- This was added by our author proclame in VI. 791. and so all of that bably not without a view to ha family should be spelt, declame, ex- own time, when himself and those

a

He with a crew, whom like ambition joins
With him or under him to tyrannize,
Marching from Eden towards the west, shall find 40
The plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge
Boils out from under ground, the mouth of Hell :
Of brick, and of that stuff they cast to build
A city' and tow'r, whose top may reach to Heaven;

themselves a name, left far dispers’d 45
In foreign lands their memory be lost,
Regardless whether good or evil fame.
But God who oft descends to visit men
Unseen, and through their habitations walks

And get

To

of his party were stigmatiz'd as near Babylon, that it swam upon the worst of rebels.

the waters, that there was a cave

and fountain continually emitting 40. Marching from Eden towards it, and that this famous tower at

the west, &c.] Gen. XI. 2 this time, and the no less famous &c. And it came to pass as they jour. walls of Babylon afterwards were neyed from the east, that they found a built with this kind of cement, is plain in the land of Shinar And confirm'd by the testimony of seveibey bad brick for ftone, and slime had ral profane authors. This black bitbey for morter. And they said, Go tuminous gurge, this pitchy pool the to, let us build us a city and a tower, poet calls the mouth of Hell, not whose top may reach unto Heaven, and itriály speaking, but by the same let us make us a name, left we be scat- fort of figure by which the ancient tered abroad upon the face of the whole poets call Tænarus or Avernus the carth. The Hebrew chemar which jaws and gate of Hell, we translate slime is what the Greeks call asphaltus and the Latins bitu- Tænarias etiam fauces, alta ostia men, a kind of pitch; and that it

Ditis. Virg. Georg. IV.467. abounded very much in the plain

51. Comes

« НазадПродовжити »