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and instructive account of the end for which God bestowed on Eve so much of ornament and awfulness.
591.--and is judicious,] To be judicious; means here to choose proper qualities in Eve for the object of love; to love her only for what is truly amiable : “not for the sense of touch whereby mankind is propagated, ver. 579, &c; but for what Adam found “higher in her society, human, and rational.”
595. To whom thus balf abash'd Adam reply'd.) Adam's discourse, which follows the gentle rebuke he received from the Angel, shows that his love, however violeat it might appear, was still founded in reason, and consequently not improper for Paradise. Addison.
" To whom thus half abash'd Adam reply'd." This verse might have been turned otherwise,
« To whom thus Adam half abash'd reply'd," and many perhaps will think that it runs smoother thus. But let the reader consider again, whether the verse as it is in Milton does not better express the shame and modest confusion of Adan.
630. But I can now no more; the parting sun &c.] The conversation was now become of such a nature that it was proper to put an end to it: And now the “parting sun beyond the earth's green Cape,” beyond Cape de Verd, the most western point of Africa, “and verdant Isles, the islands of Cape de Verd, a knot of small islands laying off Cape de Verd, subject to the Portuguese, “ Hesperian sets,” sets westward from Hese perus the evening star appearing there, “my signal to depart," for he was only to stay till the evening, v. 376.
for these mid hours, till evening rise,
I have at will. And he very properly closes his discourse with those moralinstructions, which should make the most lasting impression on the mind of Adam, and to deliver which was the principal end and design of the Angel's coming.
644.-wbom Adam thus] Adam's speech at parting with the Angel has in it a difference and gratitude agreeable to an inferior nature, and at the same time a certain dignity and greatness suitable to the father of mankind in his state of innocence. Addison.
645. Followed with bencdiftion. Since to part,] What's here, says Dr. Bentley ? Adam give benediction, his blessing to an Arch-Angel, when the less is blessed of the better? But benedi&tion does not signify blessing here in the sense which the Doctor gives to the word. Benedicere Domino, to bless God, is a common phrase in religious offices. So Psal. cix. 17. 10 this sense therefore it is not improper to be used towards superiors. But what stile is that (says the Doctor) “Since to part?" It means, Since we are to part. If the expression is abbreviated, so was the time of Raphael's stay with Adam. He was just upon the point of going, and therefore Adam might choose brevity of speech, that he might express all he had to say before the Arch-Angel withdrew himself.
652, So párted they, the Angel up 10 Heaven
From the tbick sbade, and Adam to bis bower.] It is very true, as Dr. Bentley says, that this conversation between Adam and the Angel was held in “the bower.” For thither Adam had invited him.
v. 367. Vouchsafe with us in yonder bower
To rest. And the Angel had accepted the invitation, ver. 375. lead on then where thy bower" o’ershades
-So to the sylvan lodge They came. But by bower in this place is meant his inmost bower, as it is called in iv. 738, his place of rest. There was a shady walk that led to Adam's bower. When the Angel arose, ver. 644, Adam follow'd bim into this shady walk: and it was from this fbick sbade that they parted, and the Angel went up to Heaven, and Adam to his bower.
1. No more of talk &c.] THESE prefaces, of Milton to some of his books, speaking of his own person, lamenting his blindness, and preferring his subject to those of Homer and Virgil and the greatest poets before him, dre condemned by some critics: and it must be allowed that we find no such die gression in the Iliad or Eneid ; it, is a liberty that can be taken only, by such a genius. as Milton, and I question whether it would have succeeded in any hands but his, As Monsieur Voltaire says upon the occasion, I cannot but own that an au, thor is generally guilty of an unpardonable self-love, when he lays aside his subject to descant upon his own person : but that human frailty is to be forgiven in Milton; nay I am pleased with it. He gratifies the curiosity he has raised in me about his person; when I admire che author, I desire to know something of the man; and he, whom all readers would be glad to know, is allowed to speak of himself. But this how, ever is a very dangerous example for a genius of an inferior order, and is only to be justified by success. See Voltaire's Essay on Epic Poetry, pag. 11!. But as Mr, Thyer adds, however some crities and Monsieur Voltaire, may condemn a poet's sometimes digressing from his subiect to speak of himself, it is very certain that Milton was of a very different opi. pion long before he thought of writing this poem. For in his discourse of the Reason of Church-Government, &c. apolo. gizing for saying so much of himself as he there does, he adds, « For although a poet, sopring in the high region of his fancies, with his garland and singing robes about him, might, without apology, speak more of himself than I mean to do ;"
yet for me sitting here below in the cool element of prose, a mortal thing among many readers of no empyreal conceit, ta venture and dixuige unusual things of myself, I shall petition
to the gentler sort, it may not be envy' to me." Vol. i. p. 59. Edit. 1. 38. 5.
-I must now change Tbose notes to tragic;] As the author is now changing his subject, he professes likewise to change his stile agreeably to it. The reader therefore must not expect such lofty images and descriptions, as before. What follows is more of the tragic strain than of the epic. Which may serve as an answer to those critics, who censure the latter books of the Paradise Lost as falling below the former.
and Misery Dearb's barbinger:) Dr. Bentley reads Melody; because, as there is Misery after death, so there is Misery, which does not usher in death, but invoke it in vain But by Misery here, Milton means sickness, disease, and all sorts of mortal pains. So when in xi. Michael is going to name the several diseases in the lazar-house, represented to Adam in a vision, he says ver. 475,
-that thou may'st know What misery th' inabstinence of Eve Shall bring on men.
-Sad task, yet argument
Of Stern. Achilles, &c.( The anger that he is about to sing is moresheroic, not only than that of men, of Achilles, Turnus, &c. but even than the anger of the Gods, of Neptune and juos no; in as much as the anger of the true God is a subject mort noble than the anger of the false Gods.
21.-my celestial patroness,] His “heav'nly. Muse," his “ Urania,” whom he had invoked i. 6. vii. 1, 31. And be boasts of her "nightly visitation," as he was not unaccustomed to study and compose his verses by night; as he intimates himself at the beginning of book the third.
but chief Thee, Sion, and the flow'ry brooks beneath. That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
6. Nightly I visit." And it is probable that in both these passages he alludes to the beginning of Hesioj's Theogony, where he mentions like. wise the Muses walking by night."
26.--long choosing, and beginning late;] Our author intende ed pretty early to write an epic poem, and proposed the story of king Arthur for the subject of it: but that was laid aside probably for the reason here intimated. The Paradise Lost be designed first as a tragedy: it was not till long after that he bea gan to form it into an epic poem: and indeed for several years he was so hotly engaged in the controversies of the times, that be was not at leisure to think of a work of this nature, and did not begin to fashion it in its present formn till after the Salmasian tontroversy which ended in 1655, and probably did not set about the work in earnest till after the Restoration, so that be was a long choosing, and beginning lake."
28.-biberto tbe only argument
Heroic deem'd, ] By the Moderns as well as by the Ancients; Wars being the principal subject of all the heroic poems from Homer down to this time.
29.-wcbief mast'ry to disseet &c.] As the admired subje&s for an heroic poem were mistaken, so those were wrong who thought the dissecting of knights was a principal part of the skill of a poet, describing wounds as a surgeon.
He doubtless here glanced at Homer's perpetual affectation of this sort of knowledge, which certainly debases his poetry.
33.~~or to describe races and games,] As the ancient poets have done; Homer in the twenty third-book of the Iliad, Virgil in the fifth book of the Æneid, and Statius in the sixth book of his Thebaid; Or tilts and corncaments, which are often the subject of the modern poets, as Ariosto, Spenser, and the like.
53. Wben Satan who late fled &c.] If we look into the three great heroic poems which have appeared in the world, we may observe that they are built upon very slight foundations. Hemer lived 300 years after the Trojan war; and, as the writing of history was not then in use among the Greeks, we may very well suppose that the tradition of Achilles and Ulysses had brought down but very few particulars co his knowledge;. tho' there is no question but he has wrought into his two poems such of their remarkable adventures, as were still talked of among his contemporaries. The story of Æneas, on which Virgil founded his poem, was likewise very base of circumstances, and by that means afforded him an opportunity of embellishing