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the Hand of the Prophet Jeremiah. The following Pafsage, wherein Satan is described as wounded by the Sword of Michael, is in Imitation of Homer.
The girding Sword with discontinuous Wound
HOMER tells us in the same manner, that upon Diomedes wounding the Gods, there flow'd from the Wound an Ichor, or pure kind of blood, which was not bred from mortal Viands ; and that tho' the Pain was exquisitely great, the Wound soon closed up and healed in those Beings who are vested with Immortality.
I question not but Milton in his Description of his furious Moloch flying from the Battle, and bellowing with the Wound he had received, had his Eye on Mars in the Iliad; who, upon his being wounded, is represented as retiring out of the Fight, and making an Outcry louder than that of a whole Army when it begins the Charge. Homer adds, that the Greeks and Trojans who were engaged in a general Battle, were terrify'd on each side with the bellowing of this wounded Deity. The Reader will easily observe how Milton has kept all the Horrour of this Image, without running into the Ridicule of it.
Where the Might of Gabriel fought, And with fierce Enfigns pierc'd the deep Array Of Moloch, furious King! who him defy'd, And at his Chariot-wheels to drag him bound I breaten'd, nor from the Holy One of Heav'n Refrain'd his Tongue blafphemous : but anon Down cloven to the Wafie, with latter'd Arms And uncouth Pain fled bellowing MILTON has likewise raised his Description in this Book with many Images taken out of the poetical Parts of Scripture. The Messiah's Chariot, as I have before taken notice, is formed upon a Vision of Ezekiel, who, as Grorius observes, has very much in him of Homer's Spirit in the Poetical Parts of his Prophesy,
THE following Lines in that glorious Commission which is given the Messiah to extirpate the Host of Rebel Angels, is drawn from a sublime Passage in the Psalms. Go then, thou Mighties, in thy Father's Might! Ascend my Chariot, guide the rapid Wheels That Shake Heav'n's Basis ; bring forth all my War, My Bow, my Thunder, my almighty Arms, Gird on thy Sword on thy puisant Thigh.
THE Reader will easily discover many other Strokes of the same nature.
THERE is no Question but Milton had heated his Imagination with the Fight of the Gods in Homer, before he enter'd upon this Engagement of the Angels. Homer there gives us a Scene of Men, Heroes, and Gods, mix'd together in Battle. Mars animates the contending Armies, and lifts up his Voice in such a manner, that it is heard distinctly amidst all the Shouts and Confusion of the Fight.
upiter at the same time thunders over their Heads; while Neptune raises such a Tempeft, that the whole Field of Battle and all the Tops of the Mountains fhake about them. The Poet tells us, that Pluto himself, whose Habitation was in the very Centre of the Earth, was fo affrighted at che Shock, that he leapt from his Throne. Homer afterwards describes Vulcan as pouring down a Storm of Fire upon the River Xanthus, and Minerva as throwing a Rock at Mars; who, he tells us, cover'd feven Acres in his Fall.
AS Homer has introduced into his Battle of the Gods every thing that is great and terrible in Nature, Milton has filled his Fight of good and bad Angels with all the like Circumstances of Horrour. The Shout of Armies, the Rattling of Brasen Chariots, the Hurling of Rocks and Mountains, the Earthquake, the Fire, the Thunder, are all of them employed to lift up the Reader's Imagination, and give him a suitable Idea of so great an Action. With what Art has the Poet represented the whole Body of the Earth trembling, even before it was created.
All Heaven refounded, and had Earth been then,
IN how sublime and just a manner does he afterwards describe the whole Heaven shaking under the Wheels of
the Messiah's Chariot, with that Exception to the Throne of God ?
- Under his burning Wheels The fledfaff Empyrean shook throughout, All but the Throne it self of God NOTWITHSTANDING the Mefliah appears clothed with so much Terrour and Majesty, the Poet has ftill found means to make his Readers conceive an Idea of him, beyond what he himself is able to describe.
Yet half his Strength he put not forth, but checkt
IN a word, Milton's Genius, which was so great in it self, and so strengthned by all the helps of Learning, appears in his Book every way equal to his Subject, which was the most sublime that could enter into the Thoughts of a Poet. As he knew all the Arts of affecting the Mind, he knew it was necessary to give it certain Reiting-places, and Opportunities of recovering it self from time to time : he has therefore with great Address interspersed several Speeches, Reflexions, Similitudes, and the like Reliefs to diversify his Narration, and ease the Attention of the Reader, that he might come fresh to his great Action, and by such a Contrast of Ideas, have a more lively taste of the nobler Parts of his Description.
No 334. Monday, March 24.
- Voluisti, in fuo Genere, unumquemque noftrum quasi quendam ele Roscium, dixistique non tam ea quae recta esent prebari, quàm quæ prava Junt fastidiis ads hærefcere.
Cicero de Gestu,
IT is very natural to take for our whole Lives a light Ime I pression of a thing which at first fell into Contempt with
us for want of Consideration. The real Use of a certain Qualification (which the wiser Part of Mankind look upon as at belt an indifferent thing, and generally a frivolous Circumstance) shews the ill Consequence of such Prepofsessions. What I mean, is the Art, Skill, Accomplishment, or whatever you will call it, of Dancing. I knew a Gentleman of great Abilities, who bewail'd the Want of this Part of his Education to the end of a very honourable Life. He oblery'd that there was not occasion for the common use of great Talents ; that they are but feldom in demand ; and that these very great Talents were often render'd useless to a Man for want of small Attainments. A good Mien (a becoming Motion, Gesture and Aspect) is natural to some Men; buteven these would be highly more graceful in their Carriage, if what they do from the Force of Nature were confirm'd and heightned from the Force of Reason. To one who has not at all considered it, to mention the Force of Reason on such a Subject, will appear fantastical; but when you have a little attended to it, an Assembly of Men will have quite another View: and they will tell you, it is evident from plain and infallible Rules, why this Man with those beautiful Features, and well faThion'd Person, is not so agreeable as he who fits by him without any of those Advantages. When we read, we do it without any exerted Act of Memory that presents the Shape of the Letters ; but Habit makes us do it mechanically, without staying, like Children, to recollect and join those Letters. A Man who has not had the Regard of his
Gesture in any part of his Education, will find himself unable to act with Freedom before new Company, as a Child that is but now learning would be to read without Hesitation. It is for the Advancement of the Pleasure we re, ceive in being agreeable to each other in ordinary Life, that one would wish Dancing were generally understood as conducive as it really is to a proper Deportment in Matters that appear the most remote from it. A Man of Learning and Sense is diftinguished from others as he is fuch, tho' he never runs upon Points too difficult for the rest of the World ; in like manner the reaching out of the Arm, and the most ordinary Motion, discovers whether a Man ever learnt to know what is the true Harmony and Composure of his Limbs and Countenance. Whoever has seen Booth in the Character of Pyrrhus, march to his Throne to receive Oreftes, is convinced that majestick and great Conceptions are expressed in the very Step; but perhaps, tho' no other Man.could perform that Incident as well as he does, he himself would do it with a yet greater Elevation, were he a Dancer. This is so dangerous a Subject to treat with Gravity, that I shall not at present enter into it any further; but the Author of the following Letter has treated it in the Effay he speaks of in such a manner, that I am beholden to him for a Refolution, that I will never hereafter think meanly of any thing, till I have heard what they who have another Opinion of it have to say in its defence.
CINCE there are scarce any of the Arts or Sciences ! U that have not been recommended to the World by " the Pens of some of the Professors, Mafters, or Lovers • of them, whereby the Usefulness, Excellence, and Bene• fit arising from them, both as to the speculative and ! practical Part, have been made publick, to the great • Advantage and Improvement of such Arts and Sciences; ! why should Dancing, an Art celebrated by the An• cients in so extraordinary a manner, be totally neglect• ed by the Moderns, and left destitute of any pen to • recommend its various Excellencies and substantial Me. • rit to Mankind ?