Puslapio vaizdai

Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th’ Aonian mount, while it pursues IS
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhime.

And Aonas in montes ut duxerit una fo It is evident enough that by rorum,

rhime in this place is meant verse And again Georg. III. 11.

in general; but I suppose Milton

thought it would found too low Aonio rediens deducam vertice Mu- and familiar to the ear to say in fas;

prose or verse, and therefore chofe though afterwards, I know not by rather to say in prose or rhime. what fatality, that country was fa. When he says in prose or verse, he mous for the dulness of its inha. adds an epithet to take off from bitants.

the commonness of the expression,

as in V. 150. 16. Things unattempted yet in profe

- such prompt eloquence or rhime.) Milton appears to Flow'd from their lips, in profe of have meant a different thing by obime here, from rime in his pre

numerous verse. face, where it is fix times men. It is said that Milton took the first tion'd, and always spell’d without hint of this poem from an Italian an b; whereas in all the editions, tragedy called Il Paradiso perso; and till Dr. Bentley's appeard, rhime it is pretended that he has borin this place of the poem was row'd largely from Mafenius, a spelld with an h. Milton pro- German Jefuit, and other modern bably meant a difference in the authors'; but it is all a pretence, thing, by making so conftant a dif- he made use of all authors, such ference in the spelling; and in- was his learning; but such is his tended that we should here under- genius, he is no copyer, his poem fand by rhime, not the jingling is plainly an original, if ever there found of like endings, but verse in was one. His subject indeed of general, the word being deriv'd the fall of Man together with the from rythmus, pu@uos: Ariosto principal episodes may be said to had faid

be as old as Scripture, but his manCola, non detta in prosa mai, ne ner of handling them is entirely in rima,

new, with new illustrations and new

beauties of his own; and he may which is word for word the fame as juftly boaft of the novelty of his with what Milton says here. Pearce. poem, as any of the ancient poets VOL. I.



And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all temples th’upright heart and pure,
Instruct më, for Thou know'st; Thou from the first
Waft present, and with mighty wings outspread 20
Dove-like fatst brooding on the vast abyss,
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark

Illumin, bestow that recommendation upon This address therefore is no more their works; as Lucretius I. 925. formality. Yet some may think

that he incurs a worse charge of Avia Pieridum peragro loca, nul- enthusiasm, or even profaneness in lius ante

vouching inspiration for his perTrita folo : &c.

formance : but the Scriptures re

present inspiration as of a much and Virgil Georg. III. 3.

larger extent than is commonly apCætera quze vacuas tenuiffent car- prehended, teaching that every good mina mentes

gift, in naturals as well as in moOmnia jam vulgata.

ral, defcendeth from the great Fatber Primus ego in patriam &c. of lights, Jam. I. 17. And an ex292.- Juvat ire jugis, quà nul- traordinary skill even in mechanila priorum

cal arts is there ascribed to the ilCaftaliam molli divertitur orbita lumination of the Holy Ghost. It clivo.

is said of Bezaleël who was to

make the furniture of the taber17. And chiefly Thou, o Spirit, nacle, that the Lord bad filled him &c.] Invoking the Muse is

with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, commonly a matter of mere form, wherein the poets neither mean, and in all manner of workmanship,

in understanding, and in knowledge, nor desire to be thought to mean and to devise curious works, &c. any thing seriously: . But the Holy Exod. XXXV. 31. Ghost here invok'd is too solemn a It may be observed too in jultifica

Heylin. name to be used insignificantly: tion of our author, that other faand besides our author, in the be.

cred ginning of his next work

Paradise invocations, and particularly Spen

poems are not without the like Regain'd, scruples not to say to the fer's Hymns of Heavenly Love fame divine person

and Heavenly Beauty, as well as Inspire, some modern Latin poems. But I As thou art wont, my prompted conceive that Milton intended song, elle mute.

something more, for I have been


Illumin, what is low raise and support;
That to the highth of this great argument
affert eternal Providence,

25 And justify the ways of God to Men.

Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view, Nor the deep tract of Hell, fay first what cause

Mov'd informed by thofe, who had oppor- bird, because the descent of the tunities of converfing with his wi- Holy Ghost is compared to a dove dow, that she was wont to say that in Scripture, Luke III. 22. As he did really look upon himself as Milton studied the Scriptures in inspir'd, and I think his works are the original languages, his images not without a spirit of enthusiasm. and expressions are oftner copied In the beginning of his ad book from them, than from our tranllaof The Reafon of Cburch government, tion. speaking of his design of writing 26. And juftify the ways of God a poem in the English language, he to Men.] A verse, which says, “ It was not to be obtained Mr. Pope has thought fit to bor“ by the invocation of Dame Me- row with some little variation, in “ mory and her Siren daughters, the beginning of his Essay on Man, « but by devout prayer to that But vindicate the ways of God to “ eternal Spirit who can enrich

Man. with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his Sera. It is not easy to conceive any good

phim, with the hallow'd fire of reason for Mr. Pope's preferring “ his altar, to touch and purify the the word vindicate, but Milton 4 lips of whom he pleases, p. 61. makes use of the word juftify, as it Edit. 1738.

is the Scripture word, That thou 19. Inftru& me, for Tbou know'fl;] might be juftified in thy Sayings, Theocrit. Idyl. XXII. 116. Rom. III.

And the
ways of


to Men are justified in the many arΕιπε θεα, συ γαρ ουθα:

gumentative discourses throughout * 21. Dove-like fatfl brooding] Al- the poem, and particularly in the luding to Gen. I. 2. the Spirit of conferences between God the FaGod moved on the face of tbe waters; ther and the Son. for the word that we translate moved 27. Say first, for Heav'n bides no fignifies properly brooded, as a bird thing from thy view, doth upon her eggs ; and he says Nor the deep tract of Hell,-- ] The like a dove rather than any other poets attribute a kind of omni


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Mov'd our grand parents, in that happy state,
Favor'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off ir 30
From their Creator, and transgress his will it
For one restraint, lords of the world besides?
Who first feduc'd them to that foul revolt?
Th’infernal Serpent; he it was, - whofe guile, :

with envy and
revenge, deceiv'd

35 The mother of mankind, what time his pride


II. 485.


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science to the Muse, and very Tb'infernal Serpent ; An imitarightly, as it enables them to speak tion of Homer, Iliad. I. 8. where of things which could not other- the question is alk'd, and the anwise be supposed to come to their swer return'd much in the same knowledge. Thus Homer, Iliad. manner.

Tos t'ap opwe Jewy sendo Ewen. Υμεις γαρ θεαι εσε, παρεσε τέ»

κε μαχεσθαι;
15€7. maxlen

Antes xj AO uiG.
And Virgil Æn. VII. 645.
Et meminiftis enim, Divæ, et me-

38. - by whose aid aspiring morare potestis.

To set himself in glory above his

peers,] Here Dr. Bentley obMilton's Muse, being the Holy Spi- jects, that Satan's crime was not, sit, muft of course be omniscient. his aiming above bis peers: he was And the mention of Heaven and in place high above them before, as Hell is very proper in this place, as the Doctor proves from V. 812. the scene of fo great a part of the But tho' this be true, yet Milton poem is laid sometimes in Hell, and may be right here; for the force of Sometimes in Heaven.)

the words seems, not that Satan .32. For one restraint,] For one aspir'd to set bimself above bis peers, thing that was restrain'd, every

but that he aspir'd to set himself in thing else being freely indulged to glory, &c that is in divine glory; them, and only the tree of know- in such glory as God and his son ledge forbidden.

were set in. Here was his crime:

and this is what God charges him 33. Who first feduc'd them to that with'in V.725.

550i. foul revolt?





Had caft him out from Heav'n, with all his host
Of rebel Angels, by whose aid aspiring
To set himself in glory' above his peers,
He trusted to have equal'd the most High,
If he oppos’d; and with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God
Rais’d impious war in Heav'n and battel proud
With vain attempt.
Him the almighty Power


who intends to' erect his often cuts off the vowel at the end throne

of a word, when the next word Equal to ours,

begins with a vowel; though he

does not like the Greeks wholly And in VI. 88. Milton says that the drop the vowel, but still retains it rebel Angels hopa

in writing like the Latins. Ano. To win the mount of God, and for the greater improvement and

ther liberty, that he takes likewise on his throne To set the envier of his ftate, the variety of his versification, is pro

nouncing the fame word sometimes proud Aspirer.

as two syllables, and sometimes as

only one syllable or two short ones. See also to the fame purpose VII. We have frequent instances in fpi140. &c. From these passages it rit, ruin, riof, reason, bigbeft, and appears that there is no occasion several other words. But then these for Dr. Bentley's alteration, which excellencies in Milton's versc are

attended with this inconvenience,

that his numbers seem embarass'd aspiring

to such readers, as know not, or To place and glory above the Son know not readily, where such eliPearce.

fion or abbreviation of vowels is

to take place; and therefore for Besides the other methods which their fakes we shall take care Milton has employ'd to diversify throughout this edition to mark and improve his numbers, he takes such vowels as are to be cut off, the same liberties as Shakespear and such as are to be contracted and and others of our old poets, and in abbreviated, thus '. imitation of the Greeks and Latins

is chis,


of God.

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45. Hurld

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