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it; for Andreini wrote a long allegorical drama on Paradise, and, it is well known, that the fancy of Milton first began to play with the subject, according to that peculiar form of composition.
It has, also, been treated by Lancetta, in the shape of a dramatic allegory; and remarked, that, under the character of Moses, the subject might form ‘an incomparable epic poem ; and Milton, quitting his own hasty sketches of allegorical dramas, accomplished a work which answers to that intention. A sketch of this drama will shew, at once, whether Milton was indebted to the above authorities for his poem.
Act l, Scene 1. God commemorates his creation of the heavens, the earth, and the water ; determines to make man, gives him vital spirit, and admonishes him to revere his maker, and live innocent.
Scene 2. Raphael, Michael, Gabriel aud Angels. Raphael praises the works of God: the other angels follow his example, particularly in regard to man.
Scene 3. God and Adam. Paradise to Adam, to hold as a fief; forbids him to touch the apple. Adam promises obedience.
Scene 4. Adam acknowledges the beneficence of God and retires to repose in the shade.
Act 2, Scene 1. God and Adam. God resolves to form a companion for Adam, and does
God gives so while he is sleeping; he then awakes Adam, and presenting to him his new associate blesses them both, then leaves them recommending obedience to his commands.
Scene 2. Adam and Eve. Adam receives Eve as his wife ; praises her, and entreats her to join with him in revering and obeying God; she promises submission to his will, and entreats his instruction ; he tells her the prohibition and enlarges on the beauties of Paradise ; on his speaking of flocks she desires to see them, and he departs to show her the various animals.
Scene 3. Lucifer, Belial, Satan. Lucifer laments his expulsion from Heaven, and meditates revenge against man; the other demons relate the cause of their expulsion, and stimulate Lucifer to revenge-he meditates-he resolves to employ the serpent.
Scene 4. The Serpent, Eve, Lucifer. The Serpent questions Eve-derides her fear and her obedience—tempts her to taste the apple-she expresses her eagerness to do so—the serpent exults in the prospect of her perdition. Lucifer (who seems to remain as a separate person from the Serpent) expresses also his exultation, and steps aside to hear a dialogue between Adam and Eve.
Scene 5. Eve, Adam. Eve declares her resolution to taste the apple, and presents it to her husband ; she tastes it and expresses unusual life and animation-she says the serpent has not deceived her—she feels no sign of death and presents the fruit to her husband—he reproves her she persists in pressing him to eat-he complies-declares the fruit sweet, but begins to trouble at his own nakedness-he repents and expresses his remorse and terror-Eve proposes to form a covering of leaves they retire to hide themselves in the foliage.
Act 3, Scene 1. Lucifer, Belial, Satan, Lucifer exults in his own success and the other demons applaud him.
Scene 2. Raphael, Michael, Gabriel. These good spirits lament the fall, and retire with awe on the appearance of God.
Scene 3. God, Eve, Adam. God calls on Adam-he
and laments his nakedness God interrogates him concerning the tree he confesses his offence and accuses Eve-she blames the serpent—God pronounces his malediction and sends them from his presence.
Scene 4. Raphael, Eve, and Adam. Raphael bids them depart from Paradise-Adam laments his destiny-Raphael persists in driving them rather harshly from the garden-Adam begs that his innocent children may not suffer for the fault of their mother-Raphael replies, that not only her children but all the race must suffer, and continues to drive them from the garden-Adam obeys-Eve laments, but soon comforts Adamhe at length departs, animating himself with the idea, that to an intrepid heart, every region is a home.
Scene 5. A cherub moralizing on the creation and fall of Adam, concludes the third and last act.”
But, notwithstanding the various speculations that have been made on the sources to which Milton has been indebted for the subject of his Poem, his name will stand unperishable on the scroll of fame, until the great globe itself shall perish.
of Man's First Disobedience.
The Garden of Eden is itself alluded to by the Prophets, as a place of spiritual knowledge, joy, and happiness. Isa. li. 3. To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called Trees of Righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. Ezek. xxviii. 13. Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created, xxxvi. 35. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the