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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 an 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 err'd 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 expulsion of our first parents from Paradise. The archangel on this occasion appears neither in his proper shape, nor in that familiar manner with which Raphael the sociable spirit entertained the father of mankind before the fall. His person, his port, and behaviour, are suitable to a spirit of the highest rank, and exquisitely described in the following passage :—
"Th' archangel soon drew nigh,
Livelier than Helibeaan, or the grain
Eve's complaint upon hearing that she was to be removed from tho garden of Paradise, is wonderfully beautiful: the sentiments are not only proper to the subject, but have something in them particularly soft and womanish—
"Must I then leave thee, Paradise? Thus leave
Adam's speech abounds with thoughts which are equally moving, but of a more masculine and elevated turn. Nothing can be conceived more sublime and poetical than the following passage in it:—
"This most afflicts me, that departing hence
I heard, here with Him at this fountain talk'd;
The angel afterwards leads Adam to the highest mount of Paradise, and lays before him a whole hemisphere, as a proper stage for those visions which were to be represented on it.
In this great review which Adam takes of all his sons and daughters, the first objects he is presented with exhibit to him the story of Cain and Abel, which is drawn together with much closeness and propriety of expression. That curiosity and natural horror which arises in Adam at the sight of the first dying man, is touched with great beauty—
"But have I now seen death? is this the way
The second vision sets before him the image of death in a great variety of appearances. The angel, to give him a general idea of those effects which his guilt had brought upon his posterity, places before him a large hospital or lazar-house, filled with persons lying under all kinds of mortal diseases. How finely has the poet told us that the sick persons languished under lingering and incurable distempers, by an apt and judicious use of such imaginary beings as those I mentioned in my last paper—
"Dire was the tossing, deep the groans. Despair
The passion which likewise rises in Adam on this occasion, is very natural—
"Sight Bo deform, what heart of roek could long
The discourse between the angel and Adam, which follows, abounds with noble morals.
As there is nothing more delightful in poetry than a contrast and opposition of incidents, the author, after this melancholy prospect of death and sickness, raises up a scene of mirth, love, and jollity. The secret pleasure that steals into Adam's heart as he is intent upon this vision, is imagined with great delicacy. I must not omit the description of the loose female troop, who seduced the sons of God, as they are called in Scripture—
"For that fair female troop thou saw'st, that seem'd
Yet empty of all good wherein consists "*
Woman's domestic honour and chief praise;
The next vision is of a quite contrary nature, and filled with the horrors of war. Adam at the sight of it melts into tears, and breaks out in that passionate speech—
I "0 what are these!
Death's ministers, not men, who thus deal death
Milton, to keep up an agreeahle variety in his visions, after
having raised in the mind of his reader the several ideas of terror which are conformable to the description of war, passes on to those softer images of triumphs and festivals, in that vision of lewdness and luxury which ushers in the Flood.
The transition which the poet makes from the vision of tho Deluge, to the concern it occasioned in Adam, is exquisitely graceful—
"How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to behold
I have been the more particular in my quotations out of the eleventh book of Paradise Lost, because it is not generally reckoned among the most shining books of this poem; for which reason the reader might be apt to overlook those many passages in it which deserve our admiration. The eleventh and twelfth are indeed built upon that single circumstance of the removal of our first parents from Paradise; but though this is not in itself so great a subject as that in most of tho foregoing books, it is extended and diversified with so many surprising incidents and pleasing episodes, that these two last books can by no means be looked upon as unequal parts of this divine poem. I must further add, that had not Milton represented our first parents as driven out of Paradise, his Fall of Man would not have been complete, and consequently his action would have been imperfect.