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ings with him. This dialogue, which is supported chiefly by the beauty of the thoughts, without other poetical ornament, is as fine a part as any in the whole poem: the more the reader examines the justness and delicacy of its sentiments, the more he will find himself pleased with it. The poet has wonderfully preserved the character of majesty and condescension in the Creator, and at the same time that of humility and adoration in the creature, as particularly in the following lines:
Thus I presumptuous; and the vision bright,
I with leave of speech implor'd
My Maker, be propitious while I speak, &c. Adam then proceeds to give an account of his second sleep, and of the dream in which he beheld the formation of Eve. The new passion that was awakened in him at the sight of her is touched very finely.
Under his forming hands a creature grew,
The spirit of love and amorous delight. Adam's distress upon losing sight of this beautiful phantom, with his exclamations of joy and gratitude at the discovery of a real creature, who resembled the apparition which had been presented to him in his dream; the approaches he makes to her, and his manner of courtship, are all laid together in a most exquisite propriety of sentiments.
Though this part of the poem is worked up with great warmth and spirit, the love which is described in it is every way suitable to a state of innocence. If the reader compares the description which Adam here gives of his leading Eve to the nuptial bower, with that which Mr. Dryden has made on the same occasion in a scene of his Fall of Man, he will be sensible of the great care which Milton took to avoid all thoughts on so delicate a subject that might be offensive to religion or good manners. The sentiments are chaste, but not cold; and convey to the mind ideas of the most transporting passion, and of the greatest purity. What a noble mixture of rapture and innocence has the author joined together, in the reflection which Adam makes on the pleasures of love compared to those of sense!
Thus have I told thee all my state, and brought
More than enough, at least on her bestow'd
-When I approach Her loveliness, so absolute she seems, And in herself complete, so well to know Her own, that what she wills to do or say Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best; All higher knowledge in her presence falls Degraded; wisdom in discourse with her Loses discount'nanc'd, and like folly shows; Authority and reason on her wait, As one intended first, not after made Occasionally; and, to consummate all, Greatness of mind and nobleness their seat Build in her loveliest, and create an awe About her as a guard angelic plac'd. These sentiments of love in our first parents gave the angels such an insight into human nature, that he seems apprehensive of the evils which might befall the species in general, as well as Adam in particular, from the excess of his passion. He therefore fortifies him against it by timely admonitions; which very artfully prepare the mind of the reader for the occurrences of the next book where the weakness of which Adam here gives such distant discoveries, brings about the fatal event which is the subject of the poem. His discourse, which follows the gentle rebuke he received from the angel, shows that his love, however violent it might appear, was still founded in reason, and consequently not improper for paradise.
Neither her outside form’d so fair, nor aught
And with mysterious reverence I decm,)
Adam's speech, at parting with the angel, has in it a deference and gratitude agreeable to an inferior nature, and at the same time a certain dignity and greatness suitable to the father of mankind in his state of innocence. ADDISON.
No. 346. MONDAY, APRIL 7.
Consuetudinem benignitates largitioni munerum longé ante
pono. Hæc est gravium hominum atque magnorum; illa quasi assentatorum populi, multitudinis levitatem voluptate quasi titillantium.
TULL I esteem a habit of benignity greatly preferable to munifi.
cence; the former is peculiar to great and distinguished persons; the latter belongs to flatterers of the people, who court the applause of the inconstant vulgar.
When we consider the offices of human life, there is methinks, something in what we ordinarily call generosity, which, when carefully examined, seems to flow rather from a loose and unguarded temper than an honest and liberal mind. For this reason it is absolutely necessary, that all liberality should have for its basis and support frugality. By this means the beneficent spirit works in a man from the convictions of reason, not from the impulses of passion. The generous man, in the ordinary acceptation, without respect to the demands of his own family, will soon find, upon the foot of his account, that he has sacrificed to fools, knaves, flatterers, or the deservedly unhappy, all the opportunities of affording any future assistance where it ought to be. Let him therefore reflect, that if to bestow be in itself laudable, should not a man take care to secure an ability to do things praiseworthy as long as he lives? Or could there be a more cruel piece of raillery upon a man who should have reduced his fortune below the capacity of acting according to his natural temper, than to say of him, that gentleman was generous?' My beloved author therefore has, in the sentence on the top of my paper, turned his eye with a certain satiety from beholding the addresses to the people by largesses and public entertainments, which he asserts to be in general vicious, and are always to be regulated according to the circumstances of time, and a man's own fortune. A constant benignity in commerce with the rest of the world. which ought to run through all a man's actions, has effects more useful to those whom
you oblige, and less ostentatious in yourself. He turns his recommendation of this virtue on commercial life; and according to him, a citizen who is frank in his kindnesses, and abhors severity in his demands; he who in buying, selling, lending, doing acts of good neighbourhood, is just and easy; he who appears naturally averse to disputes, and, above the sense of little sufferings, bears a nobler character, and does much more good to mankind than any other man's fortune, without com