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ly began to improve. This passion changed all my fears and diffidences in my general behaviour to the sole concern of pleasing her. I had not now to study the action of a gentleman, but love possessing all my thoughts, made me truly be the thing I had a mind to appear. My thoughts grew free and generous: and the ambition to be agreeable to her I admired, produced in my carriage a faint similitude of that disengaged manner of my Belinda. The way we are in at present is, that she sees my passion, and sees I at present forbear speaking of it through prudential regards. This respect to her she returns with much civility, and makes
my value for her as little a misfortune to me as is consistent with discretion. She sings very charmingly, and is readier to do so at my request, because she knows I love her: she will dance with me rather than another for the same reason. My fortune must alter from what it is, before I can speak my heart to her; and her circumstances are not considerable enough to make up for the narrowness of mine. But I write to you now, only to give you the character of Belinda, as a woman that has address enough to demonstrate a gratitude to her lover, without giving him hopes of success in his passion. Belinda has from a great wit, governed by as great prudence, and both adorned with innocence, the happiness of always being ready to discover her real thoughts. She has many of us who are now her admirers; but her treatment of us is so just, and proportioned to our merit towards her, and what we are in ourselves, that I protest to you
I have neither jealousy nor hatred towards my rivals. Such is her goodness, and the acknow
ledgment of every man who admires her, that he thinks he ought to believe she will take him who best deserves her. I will not say that this peace among us is not owing to self-love, which prompts each to think himself the best deserver.
think there is something uncommon and worthy of imitation in this lady's character. If you will please to print my letter, you will oblige the little fraternity of happy rivals, and in a more particular manner, sir, your most humble servant,
No. 363. SATURDAY, APRIL 26.
-Crudelis ubique Luctus, ubique pavor, et plurima mortis imago. VIRGIL. All parts resound with tumults, plaints, and fears, And grisly death in sundry shapes appears.
MILTON has shown a wonderful art in describing that variety of passions which arise in our first parents upon the breach of the commandment that had been given them. We see them gradually passing from the triumph of their guilt through remorse, shame, despair, contrition, prayer, and hope, to a perfect and complete repentance. At the end of the tenth book they are represented as prostrating themselves upon the ground, and watering the earth with their tears: to which the poet joins this beautiful circumstance, that they offered up their penitentia!
prayers on the very place where their Judge appeared to them when he pronounced their sentence.
- They, forthwith to the plaoe
There is a beauty of the same kind in a tragedy of Sophocles; where Edipus, after having put out his own eyes, instead of breaking his
neck from the palace battlements (which furnishes so elegant an entertainment for our English audience,) desires that he may be conducted to mount Cithæron, in order to end his life in that very place where he was exposed in his infancy, and where he should then have died, had the will of his parents been executed.
As the author never fails to give a poetical turn to his sentiments, he describes in the beginning of this book the acceptance which these their prayers met with, in a short allegory, form. ed upon that beautiful passage in holy writ:
And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which was before the throne: and the smoke of the incense which came with the
of the saints ascended up before God.'
To heav'n their prayers
Dimensionless through heav'nly doors, then clad
We have the same thought expressed a second time in the intercession of the Messiah, which is conceived in very emphatical sentiments and expressions.
Among the poetical parts of scripture, which Milton has so finely wrought into this part of his narration, I must not omit
that wherein Ezekiel, speaking of the angels who appeared to him in a vision, adds, that every one had four faces, and that their whole bodies, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, were full of eyes round about.'
-The cohort bright
The assembling of all the angels of heaven to hear the solemn decree passed upon man, is represented in very lively ideas. The Almighty is here described as remembering mercy in the midst of judgment, and commanding Michael to deliver his
message in the mildest terms, lest the spirit of man, which was already broken with the sense of his guilt and misery should fail before him.
-Yet lest they faint
The conference of Adam and Eve is full of moving sentiments. Upon their going abroad after the melancholy night which they had passed together, they discover the lion and the eagle pursuing each of them their prey towards the eastern gates of Paradise. There is a double beauty in this incident, not only as it presents great and just omens, which are always agreeable in poetry, but as it expresses that enmity which was now produced in the animal creation. The poet, to show the like changes in nature, as well as to grace his fable with a noble prodigy, represents the sun in an eclipse. This particular incident has likewise a fine effect upon the imagination of the reader, in regard to what follows; for at the same time that the sun is under an eclipse, a bright cloud descends in the western quarter of the heavens, filled with a host of angels, and more luminous than the sun itself. The whole theatre of nature is darkened, that this glorious machine may appear in all its lustre and magnificence.
-Why in the east
He errd not: for by this the heav'nly bands
I need not observe how properly this author, who always suits his parts to the actors whom he introduces, has employed Michael in the expul