his nature, and to that character of a sociable spirit, with which the author has so judiciously introduced him. He had received instructions to converse with Adam, as one friend converses with another, and to warn him of the enemy, who was contriving his destruction : accordingly he is represented as sitting down at a table with Adam, and eating of the fruits of Paradise. The occasion naturally leads him to his discourse on the food of angels. After having thus entered into conversation with man upon more indifferent subjects, he warns him of his obedience, and makes a natural transition to the history of that fallen angel, who was employed in the circumvention of our first parents. Had I followed Monsieur Bossu's method in

my first

paper on Milton, I should have dated the action of Paradise Lost from the beginning of Raphael's speech in this book, as he supposes the action of the Æneid to begin in the second book of that poem. I could alledge many reasons for my drawing the action of the Æneid rather from its immediate beginning in the first book, than from its remote beginning in the second; and shew why I have considered the sacking of Troy as an episode, according to the common acceptation of that word. But as this would be a dry unentertaining piece of criticism, and perhaps unnecessary to those who have read my first paper, I shall not enlarge upon it. Which ever of the notions be true, the unity of Milton's action is preserved according to either of them; whether we consider the fall of man in its immediate beginning, as proceeding from the resolutions taken in the infernal council, or in its more remote beginning, as proceeding from the first revolt of the angels in heaven. The occasion which Milton assigns for this revolt, as it is founded on hints in holy writ, and on the opinion of some great writers, so it was the most proper that the poet could have made use of.

The revolt in heaven is described with great force of imagi

nation, and a fine variety of circumstances. The learned reader cannot but be pleased with the poet's imitation of Homer in the last of the following lines :

At length into the limits of the north
They came, and Satan took his royal seat
High on a bill, far blazing, as a mount
Rais'd on a mount, with pyramids and tow'rs
From diamond quarries hewn, and rocks of gold,
The palace of great Lucifer, (so call
That structure in the dialect of men

Homer mentions persons and things, which he tells us, in the language of the gods, are called by different names from those they go by in the language of men. Milton has imitated him with his usual judgment in this particular place, wherein he has likewise the authority of scripture to justify him. The part of Abdiel, who was the only spirit that in this infinite host of angels preserved his allegiance to his Maker, exhibits to us a noble moral of religious singularity. The zeal of the seraph breaks forth in a becoming warmth of sentiments and expressions, as the character which is given us of him denotes that generous scorn and intrepidity which attends heroic virtue. The author doubtless designed it as a pattern to those who live among mankind in their present state of degeneracy and corruption.

So spake the Seraph Abdiel, faithful found;
Among the faithless, faithful only he;
Among innumerable false, unmov'd,
Unshaken, unseduc'd, unterrify’d;
His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal:
Nor number, nor example, with him wrought
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind,
Though single. From amidst them forth he pass'd,
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustain'd
Superior, nor of violence fear'd aught;
And with retorted scorn his back he turn'd
On those proud tow'rs to swift destruction doom'd.


No. 333. SATURDAY, MARCH 22.

-Vocat in certamina divos.


He calls embattled deities to arms.

We are now entering upon the sixth book of Paradise Lost, in which the poet describes the battle of angels; having raised his reader's expectation, and prepared him for it by several passages in the preceding books. I omitted quoting these passages in my observations on the former books, having purposely reserved them for the opening of this, the subject of which gave occasion to them. The author's imagination was so inflamed with this great scene of action, that wherever he speaks of it, he rises, if possible, above himself. Thus where he mentions Satan in the beginning of his poem :

-Him the Almighty Power
Hurld headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky,
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms.

We have likewise several noble hints of it in the infernal con ference.

O prince, O chief of many throned powers,
That led th' imbattel'd seraphim to war,
Too well I see and rue the dire event,
That with sad overthrow, and foul defeat,
Hath lost us heav'n, and all this mighty host
In horrible destruction laid thus low.
But see the angry Victor has recall'd
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit
Back to the gates of heav'n: the sulphurous hail
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown, hath laid
The fiery surge that from the precipice
Of heaven receiv'd us falling; and the thunder,

Wing:d with red lightning and impetuvus rage,
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep.

There are several other very sublime images on the same subject in the first book, as also in the second.

What when we fled amain, pursu'd, and struck
With heav'n's afflicting thunder, and besought
The deep to shelter us; this hell then seem'd
A refuge from those wounds-

In short, the poet never mentions any thing of this battle, but in such images of greatness and terror as are suitable to the subject. Among several others, I cannot forbear quoting that passage, where the power who is described as presiding over the chaos, speaks in the third book.

Thus Satan; and him thus the anarch old,
With fault'ring speech, and visage incompos’d,
Answer'd: I know thee, stranger, who thou art,
That mighty leading angel, who of late
Made head against heaven's King, tho' overthrown.
I saw and heard; for such a numerous host
Fled not in silence through the frighted deep,
With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,
Confusion worse confounded; and heav'n's gates
Pour'd out by millions her victorious bands,

It required great pregnancy of invention, and strength of imagination, to fill this battle with such circumstances as should raise and astonish the mind of the reader; and at the same time an exactness of judgment, to avoid every thing that might appear light or trivial. Those who look into Homer, are surprised to find his battles still rising one above another, and improving in horror, to the conclusion of the Iliad. Milton's fight of angels is wrought up with the same beauty. It is ushered in with such signs of wrath, as are suitable to Omnipotence incensed. The first engagement is carried on under a cope of fire, occasioned by the flights of innumerable burning darts and arrows which are discharged from either host. The second onset is still more terrible, as it is filled with those artificial thunders which seem to make the victory doubtful, and produce a kind of consternation even in the good angels. This is followed by the tearing up of mountains and promontories; till, in the last place, the Messiah comes forth in the fulness of majesty and terror. The pomp of his appearance, amidst the roarings of his thunders, the flashes of his lightnings, and the noise of his chariot-wheels, is described with the utmost flights of human imagination.

There is nothing in the first and last day's engagement which does not appear natural, and agreeable enough to the ideas most readers would conceive of a fight between two armies of angels.

The second day's engagement is apt to startle an imagination, which has not been raised and qualified for such a description, by the reading of the ancient poets, and of Homer in particular. It was certainly a very bold thought in our author, to ascribe the first use of artillery to the rebel-angels. But as such a pernicious invention may be well supposed to have proceeded from such authors, so it entered very properly into the thoughts of that being who is all along described as aspiring to the majesty of his Maker. Such engines were the only instruments he could have made use of to imitate those thunders, that in all poetry, both sacred and profane, are represented as the arms of the Almighty. The tearing up of the hills, was not altogether so daring a thought as the former. We are, in some measure, prepared for such an incident by the description of the giants' war, which we meet with among the ancient poets. What still made this circumstance the more proper for the poet's use, is the opinion of many learned men, that the fable of the giants' war, which makes 80 great a noise in antiquity, and gave birth to the sublimest

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