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upon the disposition and contrivance of the fable to be the principal beauty of the ninth book, which has more story in it, and is fuller of incidents, than any other in the whole poem. Satan's traversing the globe, and still keeping within the shadow of the night, as fearing to be discovered by the angel of the sun, who had before detected him, is one of those beautiful imaginations with which he introduces this his second series of adventures. Having examined the nature of every creature and found out one which was the most proper for his purpose, he again returns to Paradise; and, to avoid discovery, sinks by night with a river that ran under the garden, and rises up again through a fountain that issued from it by the tree of life. The poet, who, as we have before taken notice, speaks as little as possible in his own person, and, after the example of Homer, fills every part of his work with manners and characters, introduces a soliloquy of this infernal agent, who was thus restless in the destruction of man. He is then described as gliding through the garden under the resemblance of a mist, in order to find out that creature in which he designed to tempt our first parents. This description has something in it very poetical and surprising.
So saying through each thicket dank or dry,
The author afterwards gives us a description of the morning, which is wonderfully suitable to a divine poem, and peculiar to that first season of nature : he represents the earth, before it was curst, as a great altar, breathing out its incense from all parts, and sending up a pleasant savour to the nostrils of its Creator; to which he adds a noble idea of Adam and Eve, as offering their morning worship, and filling up the universal consort of praise and adoration.
Now when as sacred light began to dawn
The dispute which follows between our two first parents is represented with great art: it proceeds 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 great delicacy in the moralities which are interspersed in Adam's discourse, and which the most ordinary reader cannot but take notice of. The force of love which the father of mankind so finely describes in the eighth book, and which is inserted in the foregoing paper, shews 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
In his impatience and amusement during her absence.
-Adam the while
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
Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe. 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
That secret intoxication of pleasure, with all those transient flushings of guilt and joy, which the poet represents' 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 wonderful 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
Upon Adam's falling into the same guilt, the whole creation appears a second time in convulsions.
-He scrupled not to eat
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 summit of mount Ida, which produced under them a bed of flowers, the lotos, 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
So said he, and forbore not glance or toy
As no poet seems ever to have studied Homer more, or to have more resembled him in the greatness of genius than Milton, I