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he describes among the Builders of Babel, and in his Mort Sketch of the Plagues of Ægypt. The Storm of Hail and Fire, with the Darkness that overspread the Land for three Days, are described with great Strength. The beau. tiful Passage which follows, is raised upon noble Hints in Scripture :
Thus with ten Wounds
THE River-Dragon is an Allufion to the Crocodile, which inhabits the Nile, from whence Egypt derives her Plenty. This Allusion is taken from that sublime Passage in Ezekiel. Thus faith the Lord God, behold I am again thee, Pharaoh King of Ægypt, the great Dragon that lieth
in the mid of his Rivers, which hath said, my River is mine · own, and I have made it for my self. Milton has given us another very noble and poetical Image in the same Description, which is copied almoft Word for Word out of the History of Moses.
All Night he will pursue, but his Approach Darkness defends between till morning Watch; Then through the fiery Pillar and the Clouds God looking forth, will trouble all his Hoft, And craze their Chariot-Wheels: when by command Moses once more his potent Rod extends Over the Sea: the Sea bis Rod obeys: On their embattelld Ranks the Waves return And overwhelm their Warm
AS the principal Design of this Episode was to give Adam an Idea of the Holy Person, who was to reinstate human Nature in that Happiness and Perfection from which it had fallen, the Poet confines himself to the Line of Abraham, from whence the Messiah was to descend. I 4
The The Angel is described as seeing the Patriarch actually travelling towards the Land of Promise, which gives 2 particular Liveliness to this part of the Narration. better with the Passage here quoted, than with the two Verses which follow :
I see him, but thou canst not, with what Faith
AS Virgil's Vision in the sixth Æneid probably gave Milton the Hint of this whole Episode, the last Line is a Translation of that Verse where Anchises mentions the Names of Places, which they were to bear hereafter. •
Hæc tum nomina erunt, nunc funt fize nomine terra.
THE Poet has very finely represented the Joy and Gladness of Heart which rises in Adam upon the Discovery of the Meffiah. As he sees his Day at a distance through Types and Shadows, he rejoices in it; but when he finds the Redemption of Man compleated, and Paradise again renewed, he breaks forth in Rapture and Transport ;
0. Goodness infinite, Goodness immense!
I have hinted in my fixth Paper on Milton, that an Heroick Poem, according to the Opinion of the best Criticks, ought to end happily, and leave the Mind: of the Reader, after having conducted it through many Doubts and Fears, Sorrows and Disquietudes, in a State of Tranquillity and Satisfaction. Milton's Fable, which had so many other Qualifications to recommend it, was deficient in this Particular. It is here therefore, that the Poet has Mown a most exquisite Judgment, as well as the finest In
vention, by finding out a Method to supply this natural Defect in his Subject. Accordingly he leaves the Adverfary of Mankind in the last View which he gives us of him, under the lowest State of Mortification and Disappointment. We see him chewing Alhes, groveling in the Duft, and loaden with supernumerary Pains and Torments. On the contrary, our two first Parents are comforted by Dreams and Visions, cheared with Promises of Salvation, and, in a manner, raised to a greater Happiness than that which they had forfeited : In short, Satan is represented miserable in the height of his Triumphs, and Adam triumphant in the height of Misery.
MILTON's Poem ends very nobly. The last Speeches of Adam and the Archangel are full of Moral and Instructive Sentiments. The Sleep that fell upon. Eve, and the Effects it had in quieting the Disorders of her Mind, produces the same kind of Consolation in the Reader, who cannot peruse the last beautiful Speech which is ascribed to the Mother of Mankind, without a secret Pleasure and Satisfaction.
Whence thou return's, and whither went's, I know ;
THE following Lines, which conclude the Poem, rife in a moft glorious Blaze of Poetical Images and Expressions.
HELIODORUS in his Æthiopicks acquaints' us, that the Motion of the Gods differs from that of Mortals, as the former do not stir their Feet, nor proceed Step by Step, but slide o'er the Surface of the Earth by an uniform
Swimming of the whole Body. The Reader may observe
So spake our Mother Eve, and Adam heard
THE Author helped his Invention in the following Passage, by reflecting on the Behaviour of the Angel, who, in Holy Writ, has the Conduct of Lot and his family. 'The Circumstances drawn from that Relation, are very gracefully made use of on this Occasion.
In either Hand the hasining Angel caught
THE Scene which our first Parents are surprised with, upon their looking back on Paradise, wonderfully strikes the Reader's Imagination, as nothing can be more natural than the Tears they shed on that Occasion.
They looking back, all th’ Eastern side beheld
IF I might presume to offer at the smallest Alteration in this divine Work, I should think the Poem would end
They hand in hand, with wand'ring Steps and Now,
THESE two Verses, though they have their Beauty, fall very much below the foregoing Passage, and renew in the Mind of the Reader that Anguilh which was pretty well laid by that Consideration.
The World was all before them, where to choose
THE Number of Books in Paradise Lost is equal to those of the Æneid. Our Author in his firit Edition had divided his Poem into ten Books, but afterwards broke the seventh and the eleventh each of them into two diffesent Books by the help of some small Additions. This second Division was made with great Judgment, as any one may see who will be at the pains of examining it. It was not done for the sake of such a Chimerical Beauty as that of resembling Virgil in this particular, but for the more just and regular Disposition of this great Work.
THOSE who have read Bolu, and many of the Cria ticks who have written since his Time, will not pardon me if I do not find out the particular Moral which is inculcated in Paradise Loft. Though I can by no means think with the lait mentioned French Author, that an Epick Writer firit of all pitches upon a certain Moral, as the Ground-Work and Foundation of his Poem, and afterwards finds out a Story to it : I am, however, of opinion, that no just Hero:ck Poein ever was or can be made, from whence one great Moral may not be deduced. That which reigns in Milton, is the most univerfal and most useful that can be imagined : it is in short this, That Obedience to the Will of God makes Men happy, and that Disobedience makes them miserable. This is via sibly the Moral of the principal Fable, which turns upon Adam and Eve, who continued in Paradise, while they kept the Command that was given them, and were driven out of it as soon as they had transgressed. This is like. wise the Moral of the principal Episode, which shews us how an innumerable Multitude of Angels fell from their