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ceeds from a difference of judgment, not of passion, and is managed with reason, not with heat; it is such a dispute as we may suppose might have happened in Paradise, had man continued happy and innocent. There is a great delicacy in the moralities which are interspersed in Adam's discourse, and which the most ordinary reader can not but take notice of. That force of love which the father of mankind so finely describes in the eighth book, and which is inserted in my last Saturday's paper, shows itself here in many fine instances: as in those fond regards he casts towards Eve at her parting from him.
Her long with ardent look his eye pursu'd
-Adam the while,
oft are wont their harvest queen.
Solace in her return, so long delay’d. But particularly in that passionate speech, where, seeing her irrecoverably lost, he resolves to perish with her rather than to live without her.
Some cursed fraud
How can I live without thee? how forego
Mine never shall be parted, bliss or wo! The beginning of this speech, and the preparation to it, are animated with the same spirit as the conclusion, which I have here quoted.
The several wiles which are put in practice by the tempter, when he found Eve separated from her husband, the many pleasing images of nature which are intermixed in this part of the story, with its gradual and regular progress to the fatal catastrophe, are so very remarkable, that it would be superfluous to point out their respective beauties.
I have avoided mentioning any particular similitudes in my remarks on this great work, because I have given a general account of them in my paper on the first book. There is one, however, in this part of the
poem, which I shall here quote, as it is not only very beautiful, but the closest of
any in the whole poem; I mean that where the serpent is described as rolling forward in all his pride, animated by the evil spirit, and conducting Eve to her destruction, while Adam was at too great a distance from her to give her his assistance. These several particulars are all of them wrought into the following similitude.
Hope elevates, and joy Brightens his crest, as when a wand'ring fire VOL. VII.
Compact of unctuous vapour, which the night
There swallow'd up and lost, from succour far. That secret intoxication of pleasure, with all those transient flushings of guilt and joy which the poet compares in our first parents upon their eating the forbidden fruit, to those flaggings of spirit, damps of sorrow, and mutual accusations, which succeed it, are conceived with a wonderfül imagination, and described in very natural sentiments.
When Dido in the fourth Æneid yielded to that fatal temptation which ruined her, Virgil tells us, the earth trembled, the heavens were filled with flashes of lightning, and the nymphs howled upon the mountain-tops. Milton in the same poetical spirit, has described all nature as disturbed upon Eve's eating the forbidden fruit.
So saying, her rash hand in evil hour
That all was lostUpon Adam's falling into the same guilt, the whole creation appears a second time in convulsions.
He scrupled not to eat
Earth trembled from her entrails, as again In pangs, and nature gave a second groan; Sky lourd, and, mutt'ring thunder, some sad drops Wept at completing of the mortal sin. As all nature suffered by the guilt of our first parents, these symptoms of trouble and consternation are wonderfully imagined, not only as prodigies, but as marks of her sympathizing in the fall of man.
Adam's converse with Eve, after having eaten the forbidden fruit, is an exact copy of that between Jupiter and Juno in the fourteenth Iliad. Juno there approaches Jupiter with the girdle which she had received from Venus; upon which he tells her, that she appeared more charming and desirable than she had ever done before, even when their loves were at the highest. The poet afterwards describes them as reposing on a sum, mit of mount Ida, which produced under them a bed of flowers, the lotus, the crocus, and the hyacinth; and concludes his description with their falling asleep.
Let the reader compare this with the following passage in Milton, which begins with Adam's speech to Eve:
For never did thy beauty, since the day
He led her nothing loth: flow'rs were the couch,
As no poet seems ever to have studied Homer more, or to have more resembled him in the greatness of genius, than Milton, I think I should have given but a very imperfect account of its beauties, if I had not observed the most remarkable passages which look like parallels in these two great authors. I might in the course of these criticisms, have taken notice of many particular lines and expressions which are translated from the Greek poet; but as I thought this would have appeared too minute and over-curious, I have purposely omitted them. The greater incidents, however, are not only set off by being shown in the same light with several of the same nature in Homer, but by that means may be also guarded against the cavils of the tasteless or ignorant.