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Not lovely Ida might with this compare,
Though many streams his banks besilvered,
Though Xanthus with his golden sands he bare;
Nor Hybla, though his thyme depastured,
As fast again with honey blossomed;

Nor ithodope, nor Tempe's flowery plain:

Adonis' garden was to this but vain,
Though Plato on his beds a flood of praise did rain.

The garden like a lady fair was cut,

That lay as if she slumbered in delight,

And to the open skies her eyes did shut;

The azure fields of heaven were sembled right

In a large round, set with the flowers of light:

The flowers-de-luce, and the round sparks of dew,
That hung upon their azure leaves, did shew

Like twinkling stars, that sparkle in the ev'ning blue.

The allegorical figures of Ambition and Vain-glory are vividly painted.

Therefore above the rest Ambition sate:
His court with glitt'ring pearl was all enwalled,
And round about the wall, in chairs of state,
And most majestic splendour, were installed
A hundred kings, whose temples were impaled
In golden diadems, set here and there
With diamonds, and gemmed every where,
And of their golden virges none disceptred were.

High over all Vainglories blazing throne,
In her bright turret, all of crystal wrought,
Like Phoebus' lamp, in midst of heaven, shone;
Whose starry top, with pride infernal fraught,
Self-arching columns to uphold were taught:
In which her image still reflected was
By the smooth crystal, that most like her glass,
In beauty and in frailty did all others pass.

A silver wand the sorceress did sway,
And, for a crown of gold her hair she wore;
Only a garland of rose-buds did play
About her locks, and in her hand she bore
A hollow globe of glass, that long before
She full of emptiness had bladdered,
And all the world therein depictured,
Whose colours, like the rainbow, ever vanished.
Such wat'ry orbicles young boys do blow
Out from their soapy shells, and much admire
The swimming world, which tenderly they row
With easy breath till it be waved higher:
But if they chance but roughly once aspire,
The painted bubble instantly doth fall.

This allegory is in the manner of Spenser; but Milton, by keeping closer to the inspired narrative, has produced a sublimer effect. The "specular mount," from whence are beheld all the cities and empires of the East, Nineveh, and Babylon, Ecbatana, and the City of the hundred gates, presents a magnificent picture.

The third book, entitled Christ's Triumph over Death, commemorates the Crucifixion. It is the least harmonious and powerful portion of the poem; but the portrait of the traitor Judas, suffering under the horrors of an accusing conscience, is delineated with surprising sublimity and force of imagination:—

For him a waking blood-hound, yelling loud,
That in his bosom long had sleeping laid,
A guilty Conscience, barking after blood,
Pursued eagerly, nor ever stayed,
Till the betrayer's self it had betrayed.

Oft changed the place, in hope away to wind;

But change of place could never change his mind:
Himself he flies to lose, and follows for to find.

With that a flaming brand a Fury catched,
And shook, and tossed it round in his wild thought,
So from his heart all joy, all comfort snatched,
With ev'ry star of hope; and as he sought
(With present fear, and future grief distraught,)
To fly from his own heart, and aid implore
Of bin, the more he gives, that hath the more,
Whose storehouse is the heav'ns, too little for his store:

At this moment the Tempter appears to the apostate disciple, and reviles him for his ingratitude to his Divine Master. His soul is overwhelmed with fear and madness :—

As when wild Pentheus, grown mad with fear,
Whole troops of hellish hags about him spies;
Two bloody suns stalking the dusky sphere,
And two-fold Thebes runs rolling in his eyes;
Or through the scene staring Orestes flies,

With eyes flung back upon his mother's ghost,
That with infernal serpents all embost,
And torches quencht in blood, doth her stern son accost.

Such horrid gorgons, and misformed forms
Of damned fiends, flew dancing in his heart,
That, now, unable to endure their storms,
"Fly, fly, (he cries) thyself, whate'er thou art,
"Hell, hell, already burns in ev'ry part."

So down into his Torturer's arms he fell

Yet oft he snatcht, and started as he hung :—

So when the senses half enslumbered lie,

The headlong body, ready to be flung

By the deluding fancy from some high

And craggy rock, recovers greedily,

And clasps the yielding pillow, half asleep,
And, as from heaven it tumbled to the deep,

Feels a cold sweat through every member creep.

Euripides might have written these stanzas in the season of his solemn inspiration. In the "staring Orestes," ■we seem to behold the wretched mourner bursting from the enfolding arms of the weeping Electra, and fleeing in horror from the Furies surrounding his couch*.

The poet describes Joseph of Arimathea at the cross. The still grief of the humble and affectionate mourner is described with some quaintness:—

But long he stood in his faint arms upholding
The fairest spoil heaven ever forfeited,
With such a silent passion grief unfolding,
That had the sheet but on himself been spread,
He for the corse might have been buried.

The departure of Joseph and his companions from the sepulchre is in a purer vein:—

* Tas aiparamovs ftai SpaKovraSeis Kopas.—Kuripid. Ores1.1.250.

Thus spend we tears, that never can be spent
On him that sorrow now no more shall see.

• * • * •

Here bury we
This heavenly earth; here let it softly sleep,
The fairest Shepherd of the fairest sheep.
So all the body kist, and homeward went to weep.

The fourth canto, Christ's Triumph after Death, commences with a morning-landscape, not free from affectation, but displaying a poetical selection of circumstances, and in one or two passages recalling Milton.

But now the second morning from her bower,

Began to glister in her beams; and now

The roses of the day began to flower

In the eastern garden; for heaven's silent brow

Half insolent for joy began to show:

The early sun came lively dancing out
And the brag lambs ran wantoning about,

That heaven and earth might seem in triumph both to

The engladdened Spring, forgetful now to weep,

Began t' eblazon from her leavie bed;

The waking swallow broke her half-year's sleep,

And every bush lay deeply perfumed

With violets

He illustrates the glorious unclouding of the Godhead, when it had put off the tabernacle of flesh, by an exquisite image:—

So fairest Phosphor, the bright morning star,
But newly washed in the green element,
Before the drowsy night is half aware,
Shooting his flaming locks with dew besprent,
Springs lively up into the orient,

And the bright drove, fleeced in gold, he chases

The entrance into heaven, the triumph of the angelic host, the everlasting happiness of the saints of God, these form the sacred subjects of the poet's pen in the concluding book of his poem: Christ will be the light of the Christian Paradise

And if a sullen cloud, as sad as night,

In which the sun may seem embodied,

Depriv'd of all his dross, we see so white,

Burning in melted gold his wat'ry head,

Or round with ivory edges silvered,

What lustre super-excellent will He
Lighten on those that shall his sunshine see,

In that all-glorious court, in which all glories be?

There every tear is wiped away from the eyes of those who, having fought a good fight, have entered into the joy of their Lord:—

No sorrow now hangs clouding on their brow,
No bloodless malady empales their face,
No age drops on their hairs his silver snow,
No nakedness their bodies doth embase,
No poverty themselves and theirs disgrace;
No fear of death the joy of life devours,
No loss, no grief, no change, wait on their winged hours.

The impersonation of the Deity is in the loftiest spirit of Hebrew poetry, although, towards the conclusion, it partakes of that beautiful mysticism of which Bishop Taylor, in his majestic prose, has furnished so many splendid examples :—

In midst of this city celestial,
Where the eternal Temple should have rose,
Lightened the Idea Beatifical:
End and Beginning of each thing that grows,
Whose self, no end nor yet beginning knows;
That hath no eyes to see, nor ears to hear,
Yet sees and hears, and is all eye, all ear,
That nowhere is contained, and yet is every where.

Changer of all things, yet immutable,

Before and after all, the first, and last,

That moving all, is yet immoveable,

Great without quantity, in whose forecast

Things past are present, things to come are past;
Swift without motion, to whose open eye
The hearts of wicked men unbreasted lie,

At once absent and present to them, far and nigh.

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