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years in this place, and unhappily suffered a cal learning differ among one another, as to good chamber and study to lie idle as long. some particular points in an epic poem, I have My books (except those I have taken to sleep not bound myself scrupulously to the rules upon) have been totally neglected, and my which any one of them has laid down upon Lord Coke and other venerable authors were that art, but have taken the liberty sometimes never so slighted in their lives. I spend most to join with one, and sometimes with another, of the day at a neighbouring coffee-house, and sometimes to differ from all of them, when where we have what I may call a lazy club. I have thought that the reason of the thing was We generally come in night-gowns, with our on my side. stockings about our heels, and sometimes but We may conclude the beauties of the fourth one on. Our salutation at entrance is a yawn book under three heads. In the first are those and a stretch, and then without more ceremony pictures of still-life, which we meet with in the we take our place at the lolling-table, where description of Eden, Paradise, Adam's bowour discourse is, what I fear you would not er, &c. In the next are the machines, which read out, therefore shall not insert. But I as- comprehend the speeches and behaviour of the sure you, sir, I heartily lament this loss of good and bad angels. In the last is the contime, and am now resolved, (if possible, with duct of Adam and Eve, who are the principal double diligence) to retrieve it, being effectu- actors in the poem.
ally awakened, by the arguments of Mr. Slack, In the description of Paradise, the poet has out of the senseless stupidity that has so long observed Aristotle's rule of lavishing all the possessed me. And to demonstrate that peni-ornaments of diction on the weak unactive tence accompanies my confessions and con- parts of the fable, which are not supported by stancy my resolutions, I have locked my door the beauty of sentiments and characters. Ac for a year, and desire you would let my com-cordingly the reader may observe, that the expanions know I am not within. I am with pressions are more florid and elaborate in these great respect,
'Your most obedient servant,
No. 321.] Saturday, March 8, 1711-12.
'Tis not enough a poem's finely writ;
descriptions, than in most other parts of the poem. I must further add, that though the drawings of gardens, rivers, rainbows. and the like dead pieces of nature, are justly censured in an heroic poem, when they run out into an unnecessary length-the description of Paradise would have been faulty, had not the poet been very particular in it, not only as it is the scene of the principal action, but as it is requisite to give us an idea of that happiness from which our first parents fell. The plan of it is wonderfully beautiful, and formed upon THOSE Who know how many volumes have the short sketch which we have of it in holy been written on the poems of Homer and Virgil writ. Milton's exuberance of imagination has will easily pardon the length of my discourse poured forth such a redundancy of ornaments upon Milton. The Paradise Lost is looked on this seat of happiness and innocence, that upon, by the best judges, as the greatest pro-it would be endless to point out each parduction, or at least the noblest work of genius, in our language, and therefore deserves to be I must not quit this head without further set before an English reader in its full beauty. observing, that there is scarce a speech of AdFor this reason, though I have endeavoured to am or Eve in the whole poem, wherein the sengive a general idea of its graces and imper- timents and allusions are not taken from this fections in my first six papers, I thought my- their delightful habitation. The reader, durself obliged to bestow one upon every book in ing their whole course of action, always finds particular. The first three books I have al-himself in the walks of Paradise. In short, as ready despatched, and am now entering upon the critics have remarked, that in those poems the fourth. I need not acquaint my reader wherein shepherds are the actors, the thoughts that there are multitudes of beauties in this ought always to take a tincture from the woods, great author, especially in the descsiptive parts fields, and rivers; so we may observe, that our of this poem, which I have not touched upon; first parents seldom lose sight of their happy it being my intention to point out those only station in any thing they speak or do; and, if which appear to me the most exquisite, or the reader will give me leave to use the exthose which are not so obvious to ordinary pression, that their thoughts are always pareaders. Every one that has read the critics radisaical.'
who have written upon the Odyssey, the Iliad, We are in the next place to consider the' and the Eneid, knows very well, that though machines of the fourth book. Satan being they agree in their opinions of the great beau- now within prospect of Eden, and looking ties in those poems, they have nevertheless rouud upon the glories of the creation, is filled each of them discovered several master-strokes, with sentiments different from those which he which have escaped the observation of the rest. discovered whilst he was in hell. The place In the same manner, I question not but any inspires him with thoughts more adapted to it. writer, who shall treat of this subject after me He reflects upon the happy condition from may find several beauties in Milton, which I whence he fell, and breaks forth into a speech have not taken notice of. I must likewise ob- that is softened with several transient touches serve, that as the greatest masters of criti-of remorse and self accusation: but at length
he confirms himself in impenitence, and in his The conference between Gabriel and Satan design of drawing man into his own state of abounds with sentiments proper for the occaguilt and misery. This conflict of passions sion, and suitable to the persons of the two is raised with a great deal of art, as the open-speakers. Satan clothing himself with terror ing of his speech to the sun is very bold and noble :
O thou that with surpassing glory crown'd,
when he prepares for the combat is truly sub-
While thus he spake, th' angelic squadron bright
On th' other side Satan alarm'd,
His stature reach'd the sky, and on his crest
I must here take notice, that Milton is every where full of hints, and sometimes literal translations, taken from the greatest of the Greek and Latln poets. But this I may reserve for a discourse by itself, because I would not break the thread of these speculations, that are designed for English readers, with such reflections as would be of no use but
This speech is, I think, the finest that is ascribed to Satan in the whole poem. The evil spirit afterwards proceeds to make his discoveries concerning our first parents, and to learu after what manner they may be best attacked. His bounding over the walls of Paradise; his sitting in the shape of a cormorant upon the tree of life, which stood in the center of it, and overtopped all the other trees of the garden; his alighting among the herd of animals, which are so beautifully represented as playing about Adam and Eve; together with his transforming himself into different shapes, to the learned. in order to hear their conversation; are cir- I must, however, observe in this place, that cumstances that give an agreeable surprise to the breaking off the combat between Gabriel the reader, and are devised with great art, to and Satan, by the hanging out of the golden connect that series of adventures in which the scales in heaven, is a refinement upon Hopoet has engaged this artificer of fraud. mer's thought, who tells us, that before the The thought of Satan's transformation into battle between Hector and Achilles, Jupiter a cormorant, and placing himself on the tree weighed the event of it in a pair of scales. of life, seems raised upon that passage in the The reader may see the wbole passage in the Iliad, where two deities are described as perch-22d Iliad. ing on the top of an oak in the shape of vul
Virgil, before the last decisive combat describes Jupiter in the same manner, as weighHis planting himself at the ear of Eve under ing the fates of Turnus and Areas. Milton, the form of a toad, in order to produce vain though he fetched this beautful circumstance dreams and imaginations, is a circumstance of from the Iliad and Æneid, does not only inthe same nature; as his starting up in his own sert it as a poetical embellishment, like the auform is wonderfully fine, both in the literal thor's above-mentioned, but makes an artful description, and in the moral which is con- use of it for the proper carrying on of his facealed under it. His answer upon his being ble, and for the breaking off the combat bediscovered, and demanded to give an account tween the two warriors, who were upon theof himself, is conformable to the pride and intrepidity of his character:
'Know ye not then,' said Satan, fill'd with scorn, 'Know ye not me! Ye knew me once no mate For you, there sitting where you durst not soar: Not to know me argues yourselves unknown, The lowest of your throng
Zephon's rebuke, with the influence it had on Satan, is exquisitely grateful and moral. Satan is afterwards led away to Gabriel, the chief of the guardian angels, who kept watch in Paradise. His disdainful behaviour on this occasion is so remarkable a beauty, that the most ordinary reader cannot but take notice of it. Gabriel's discovering his approach at distance is drawn with great strength and liveliness of imagination:
'O friends, I hear the tread of nimble feet
point of engaging. To this we may further add, that Milton is the more justified in this passage, as we find the same noble allegory in holy writ, where a wicked prince, some few hours before he was assaulted and slain, is said to have been' weighed in the scales, and to have been found wanting.'
I must here take notice, under the head of the machines, that Uriel's gliding down to the earth upon a sun-beam, with the poet's device to make him descend, as well in his return to the sun as in his coming from it, is a prettiness that might have been admired in a little fânciful poet, but seems below the genius of Milton. The description of the host of armed angels walking their nightly round in Paradise is of another spirit:
So saying, on he led his radiant files,
as that account of the hymns which our first
consider the reeiving them without departing from the in the fourth modesty of her character: in a word, to adas they first just the prerogatives of wisdom and beauty, and make each appear to the other in its proper force and loveliness. This mutual subordination of the two sexes is wonderfully kept up in the whole poem, as particularly in the speech of Eve I have before mentioned, and upon the conclusion of it in the following lines:
We are in the last place, to parts which Adam and Eve act book. The description of them, appeared to Satan, is exquisitely drawn, and sufficient to make the fallen angel gaze upon them with all that astonishment, and those emotions of envy, in which he is represented: Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall, God-like erect, with native honour clad In naked majesty, seem'd lords of all; And worthy seem'd: for in their looks divine The image of their glorious Maker shone, Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure; Severe, but in true filial freedom plac'd: For contemplation he and valour form'd, For softness she and sweet attractive grace; He for God only, she for God in him. His fair large front, and eye sublime declar'd Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks Round from his parted forelock manly hung Clust'ring, but not beneath his shoulders broad. She, as a veil, down to her slender waist Her unadorned golden tresses wore Dishevell'd, but in wanton ringlets wav'd. So pass'd they naked on, nor shun'd the sight Of God or angel, for they thought no ill: So hand in hand they pass'd, the loveliest pair That ever since in love's embraces met.
There is a fine spirit of poetry in the lines which follow, wherein they are described as sitting on a bed of flowers by the side of a fountain, amidst a mixed assembly of ani
The speeches of these two first lovers flow equally from passion and sincerity. The pro fessions they make to one another are full of warmth; but at the same time founded on truth. In a word they are the gallantries of Paradise:
-When Adam first of men
"Sole partner and sole part of all these joys,
But let us ever praise Him, and extol
Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet."
The remaining part of Eve's speech, in which she gives an account of herself upon her first creation, and the manner in which she was brought to Adam, is, I think, as beautiful a passage as any in Milton, or perhaps in any other poet whatsoever. These passages are all worked off with so much art, that they are capable of pleasing the most delicate reader, without offending the most severe.
So spake our general mother, and with eyes
Of her loose tresses hid; he in delight
The poet adds, that the devil turned away with envy at the sight of so much happi
We have another view of our first parents in their evening discourses, which is full of pleasing images and sentiments suitable to their condition and characters. The speech of Eve in particular, is dressed up in such a soft and natural turn of words and sentiments, as cannot be sufficiently admired.
I shall close my reflections upon this book with observing the masterly transition which the poet makes to their evening worship in the following lines:
Thus at their shady lodge arriv'd. both stood,
Most of the modern heroic poets have imi. tated the ancieuts, in beginning a speech without premising that the person said thus or thus ; but as it is easy to imitate the ancients in the omission of two or three words, it requires judgment to do it in such a manner as they shall not be missed, and that the speech may begin naturally without them. There is a fine instance of this kind out of Homer, in the twenty-third chapter of Longinus.
No. 322.] Monday, March 10, 1711-12.
It is often said, after a man has heard a story with extraordinary circumstances, it is a very good one, if it be true:' but as for the following relation, I should be glad were I sure it were false. It is told with such simplicity, and there are so many artless touches of distress in it, that I fear it comes too much from the heart.
6 MR. SPECTATOR,
"That day I oft remember, when from sleep,' &c. A poet of less judgment and invention than this great author, would have found it very difficult to have filled these tender parts of the poem with sentiments proper for a state of in- 'Some years ago it happened that I lived in nocence; to have described the warmth of the same house with a young gentleman of love, and the professions of it, without artifice merit, with whose good qualities I was so much er hyperbole; to have made the man speak taken, as to make it my endeavour to show as the most endearing things without descend- many as I was able in myself. Familiar coning from his natural dignity, and the woman verse improved general civilities into an un
feigned passion on both sides. He watched an and, with the nauseous familiarity of such unopportunity to declare himself to me; and I, bred brutes snatched the papers out of my who could not expect a man of so great an es- hand. I was immediately under so great a contate as his, received his addresses in such terms, cern, that I threw myself at his feet, and begged as gave him no reason to belive I was displea- of him to return them. He, with the same sed with them, though I did nothing to make odious pretence to freedom and gaiety, swore him think me more easy than was decent. he would read them. I grew more importunate, His father was a very hard worldly man, and he more curious, till at last, with an indignation proud; so that there was no reason to believe arising from a passion I then first discovered in he would easily be brought to think there was him he threw the papers into the fire, swearing any thing in any woman's person, or character, that since he was not to read them, the man that could balance the disadvantage of an un- who writ them should never be so happy as to equal fortune. In the mean time the son conti- have me read them over again. It is insignifinued his application to me, and omitted no oc- cant to tell you my tears and reproaches made casion of demonstrating the most disinterested the boisterous calf leave the room ashamed and passion imaginable to me; and in plain direct out of countenance, when I had leisure to ruterms offered to marry me privately, and keep minate on this accident with more than ordiit so till he should be so happy as to gain his nary sorrow. However, such was then my confather's aprobation, or become possessed of his fidence in my husband, that I writ to him the estate. I passionately loved him, and you will misfortune, and desired another paper of the believe I did not deny such a one what was my same kind. He deferred writing two or three interest also to grant. However, I was not so posts, and at last answered me in general, that young as not to take the precaution of carrying he could not then send me what I asked for ; with me a faithful servant, who had been also but when he could find a proper conveyance, I my mother's maid, to be present at the cere- should be sure to have it. From this time his mony. When that was over, I demanded a letters were more cold every day than other, certificate to be signed by the minister, my and, as he grew indifferent I grew jealous. husband, and the servant I just now spoke of. This has at last brought me to town, where I After our nuptials, we conversed together very find both the witnesses of my marriage dead, familiarly in the same house; but the restraints and that my husband, after three month's cowe were generally under, and the interviews we habitation, has buried a young lady whom he had being stolen and interrupted, made our be- married in obedience to his father. In a word haviour to each other have rather the impatient he shuns and disowns me. Should I come to fondness which is visible in lovers, than the re- the house and confront him, the father would gular and gratified affection which is to be ob- join in supporting him against me, though he served in man and wife. This observation made belived my story; should I talk it to the world, the father very anxious for his son, and press what reparation can I expect for an injury I him to a match he had in his eye for him. To cannot make out? I believe he means to bring relieve my husband from this importunity, and me through necessity, to resign my pretensions conceal the secret of our marriage, which I to him for some provision for my life: but I had reason to know would not be long in my will die first. Pray bid him remember what he power in town, it was resolved that I should said, and how he was charmed when he laughed retire into a remote place in the country, and at the heedless discovery I often made of myconverse under feigned names by letter. We self; let him remember how awkward I was in long continued this way of commerce; and I my dissembled indifference towards him before with my needle, a few books, and reading over company; ask him how I, who could never and over my husband's letters, passed my time conceal my love for him, at his own request can in a resigned expectation of better days. Be part with him for ever? Oh, Mr. Spectator, pleased to take notice, that within four months sensible spirits know no indifference in marafter I left my husband I was delivered of a riage: what then do you think is my piercing daughter, who died within a few hours after her affliction ?--I leave you to represent my disbirth. This accident, and the retired manner tress your own way, in which I desire you to be of life I led, gave criminal hopes to a neigh-speedy, if you have compassion for innocence bouring brute of a country gentleman, whose exposed to infamy. folly was the source of all my affliction. This T.
rustic is one of those rich clowns who supply the want of all manner of breeding by the ne
glect of it, and with noisy mirth, half under- No. 323.] Tuesday, March 11, 1711-12.
Modò vir, modò fœmina.
standing and ample fortune, force themselves upon persons and things, without any sense of time or place. The poor ignorant people where I lay concealed, and now passed for a widow, THE journal with which I presented my wonderd I could be so shy and strange, as they reader on Tuesday last has brought me in secalled it, to the 'quire; and were bribed by him veral letters, with accounts of many private to admit him whenever he thought fit: hap-lives cast into that form. I have the Rake's pened to be sitting in a little parlour which be-Journal,' the 'Scot's Journal,' the Whorelonged to my own part of the house, and mu- master's Journal,' and, among several others, sing over one of the fondest of my husband's a very curious piece, entitled, The Journal of letters, in which I always kept the certificate a Mohock.' By these instances, I find that the of my marriage, when this rude fellow came in intention of my last Tuesday's paper has been
From eight to ten. Chocolate. Read two acts in Aurengzebe a-bed.
From ten to eleven. Tea-table. Sent to borrow lady Faddle's Cupid for Veny. Read Received a letter from Mr. Mem. Locked it up in my strong
Rest of the morning. Fontange, the tirewoman, her account of my lady Blithe's wash. Broke a tooth in my little tortoise-shell comb.
mistaken by many of my readers. I did not in the morning. Dreamed that I punted* to design so much to expose vice as idleness, and Mr. Froth. aimed at those persons who passed away their time rather in trifles and impertinence, than in crimes and immoralities. Offences of this latter kind are not to be dallied with, or treated in so ludicrous a manner. In short, my journal only the play-bills. holds up folly to the light, and shows the dis- Froth. agreeableness of such actions as are indifferent box. in themselves, and blameable only as they proceed from creatures endowed with reason. My following correspondent, who calls herself Clarinda, is such a journalist as I require. She seems by her letter to be placed in a modish Sent Frank to know how my lady Hectic reststate of indifference between vice and virtue, ed after her monkey's leaping out at window. and to be susceptible of either, were there Looked pale. Fontange tells me my glass is proper pains taken with her. Had her journal not true. been filled with gallantries, or such occurrences as had shown her wholly divested of her natural innocence, notwithstanding it might have been more pleasing to the generality of readers, I should not have published it: but as it is only the picture of a life filled with a fashionable kind of gaiety and laziness, I shall set down five days of it, as I have received it from the hand of my fair correspondent.
DEAR MR. SPECTATOR,
You having set your readers an exercise in one of your last week's papers, I have performed mine according to your orders, and herewith send it you enclosed. You must know, Mr. Spectator, that I am a maiden lady of a good fortune, who have had several matches offered me for these ten years last past, and have at present warm applications made to me by 'A very pretty fellow.' As I am at my own disposal, I come up to town every winter, and pass my time in it after the manner you will find in the following journal, which I began to write the very day after your Spectator upon that subject.'
TUESDAY night. Could not go to sleep till one in the morning for thinking of journal.
Dressed by three.
From three to four. Dinner cold before I sat down.
From four to eleven. Mr. Froth's opinion of Milton His account of the Mohocks. His fancy of a pin-cushion. Picture in the lid of his snuff-box. Old lady Faddle promises me her woman to cut my hair. Lost five guineas at crimp.
Twelve o'clock at night. Went to bed.
FRIDAY. Eight in the morning. A-bed. Read over all Mr. Froth's letters. Cupid and Veny.
Ten o'clock. Stayed within all day, not at
Called for my flowered handkerchief. Worked half a violet leaf Threw by my work, and read over the remainEyes ached and head out of order. ing part of Aurengzebe.
From three to four. Dined.
From four to twelve. Changed my mind,. dressed, went abroad, and played at crimp till midnight. Found Mrs. Spitely at home. Conversation: Mrs. Brilliant's necklace false WEDNESDAY. From eight till ten. Drank stones, Old lady Love-day going to be martwo dishes of chocolate in bed, and fell asleep after them..
Eat a slice of bread of bohea, and read the
From ten to eleven. and butter, drank a dish Spectator. From eleven to one. At my toilette; tried a new hood. Gave orders for Veny to be combed and washed. Mem. I look best in blue..
From one till half an hour after two. Drove
ried to a young fellow that is not worth a groat. Miss Prue gone into the country. Tom Townley has red hair. Mem. Mrs. Spitely whispered in my ear, that she had something to tell me about Mr. Froth; I am sure it is not true.
Between twelve and one, Dreamed that Mr. Froth lay at my feet, and called me Indamora.
to the 'Change. Cheapened a couple of fans. SATURDAY. Rose at eight o'clock in the Till four. At dinner. Mem. Mr. Froth morning. Sat down to my toilette.
passed by in his new liveries.
From four to six. Dressed paid a visit
From eight to nine. Shifted a patch for half an hour before I could determine it. Fixto old lady Blithe and her sister, having be-ed it above my left eye brow. fore heard they were gone out of town that day.
From six to eleven. At basset. Mem. Never set again upon the ace of diamonds
THURSDAY. From eleven at night to eight
From nine to twelve. Drank my tea, and dressed.
From twelve to two. At chapel. A great