While thus he spake, th' angelic squadron bright
Turn'd fiery red, sharp'ning in mooned horns
Their phalanx, and began to hem him round
With pointed spears, &c.

On th’ other side, Satan alarm’d,
Collecting all his might, dilated stood
Like Tenariff or Atlas unremov'd.
His stature reach'd the sky, and on his crest

Sat horror plum’d. I must here take notice, that Milton is every where full of hints, and sometimes literal translations, taken from the greatest of the Greek and Latin poets. But this I may reserve for a. discourse by itself, because I would not break the thread of these speculations, that are designed for English readers, with such reflections as would be of no use but to the learned.

I must, however, observe in this place, that the breaking off the combat between Gabriel and Satan, by the hanging out of the golden scales in heaven, is a refinement upon Homer's thought, who tells us, that before the battle between Hector and Achilles, Jupiter weighed the event of it in a pair of scales. The reader may see the whole passage in the 22d Iliad.

Virgil, before the last decisive combat, describes Jupiter in the same manner, as weighing the fates of Turnus and Æneas. Milton, though he fetched this beautiful circumstance from the Iliad and Æneid, does not only insert it as a poetical embellishment, like the authors above-mentioned, but makes an artful use of it for the proper carrying on of his fable, and for the breaking off the combat between the two warriors, who were upon the point of engaging. To this we may further add, that Milton is the more justified in this passage, as we find the same noble allegory in holy writ, where a wicked prince, some few hours before he was assaulted and slain, is said to have been 'weighed in the scales, and to have been found wanting.' I must here take notice, under the head of the machines, that

VOL. VI.-5

Uriel's gliding down to the earth upon a sunbeam, with the poet's device to make him descend, as well in his return to the sun, as in his coming from it, is a prettiness that might have been admired in a little fanciful poet, but seems below the genius of Milton. The description of the host of armed angels walking their nightly round in Paradise is of another spirit;

So saying on he led his radiant files,
Dazzling the moon;

as that account of the hymns, which our first parents used to hear them sing in these their midnight walks, is altogether divine, and inexpressibly amusing to the imagination.

We are, in the last place, to consider the parts which Adam and Eve act in the fourth book. The description of them 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.

Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall,
God-like erect, with native honour clad,
In naked majesty seem'd lords of all;
And worthy seem'd, for in their looks divine
The image of their glorious Maker shone,
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude, severe and pure;
· Severe, but in true filial freedom plac'd;
For contemplation he and valor form’d;
For softness she, and sweet attractive grace;
He for God only, she for God in him:
His fair large front, and eye sublime, declar'd
Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Clust'ring, but not beneath his shoulders broad:
She as a veil down to her slender waist
Her unadorned golden tresses wore
Dis-sheveld, but in wanton ringlets wav'd.
So passed they naked on, nor shun’d the sight
Of God or Angels, for they thought no ill:
So hand in hand they pass'd, the loveliest pair
That ever since in love's embraces met.

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 a mixed assembly of animals.

The speeches of these two first 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.

-When Adam, first of men-
Sole partner and sole part of all these joys,
Dearer thyself than all;-
But let us ever praise Him, and extol
His bounty, foliowing our delightful task,
To prune those growing plants, and tend these flowers,
Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.
To whom thus Eve reply'd: 0 thou for whom
And from whom I was form’d, flesh of thy flesh,
And without whom am to no end, my guide
And head, what thou hast said is just and right;
For we to him indeed all praises owe
And daily thanks : I chiefly, who enjoy
So far the happier lot, enjoying thee
Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou
Like consort to thyself canst no where find, &c.

The remaining 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 whatsoever. 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 poem 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 her 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 in the following lines.

So spake our general mother, and with eyes
Of conjugal attraction unreprov'd,
And meek surrender, half embracing lean'd
On our first father; half her swelling breast
Naked met his under the flowing gold
Of her loose tresses hid; he, in delight
Both of her beauty and submissive charms,
Smild with superior love.

The poet adds, that the devil turned away with envy at the sight of so much happiness.

We have another view of our first parents in their evening discourses, which is full of pleasing images and sentiments suitable to their condition 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."

I shall close my reflections upon this book, with observing the masterly transition which the poet makes to their evening worship, in the followiug lines.

Thus at their shady lodge arriv’d, both stood,
Both turn'd, and under open sky ador'd
The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heav'n,
Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe,
And starry pole: thou also mad'st the night,
Maker omnipotent, and thou the day, &c.

· V. Tatler, 114, and Spect., 285 and 325.-C.

Most of the modern heroic poets have imitated the ancients, in beginning a speech without premising that the person said thus or thus; but as it is easy to imitate the ancients in the omission of two or three words, it requires judgment to do it in such a manner as they shall not be missed, and that the speech may begin naturally without them. There is a fine instance of this kind out of Homer, in the twenty-third chapter of Longinus.


No. 327. SATURDAY, MARCH 15.

Major rerum mihi nascitur ordo.

VIRG. An. vii. 43.
A larger scene of action is display'd.


We were told in the foregoing book, how the evil spirit praotised

upon Eve as she lay asleep, in order to inspire her with thoughts of vanity, pride, and ambition. The author, who shews a wonderful art throughout his whole poem, in preparing the reader for the several occurrences that arise in it, founds upon the above-mentioned circumstance the first part of the fifth book. Adam, upon his awaking, finds Eve still asleep, with an unusua! discomposure in her looks. The posture in which he regards her, is described with a tenderness not to be expressed, as the whisper with which he awakens her, is the softest that ever was conveyed to a lover's ear.

His wonder was to find unwaken'd Eve
With tresses discompos’d and glowing cheek,
As thro' unquiet rest: he on his side
Leaping half-rais'd, with looks of cordial love,
Hung over her enamourd, and beheld
Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,

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