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humble, meek, and lowly; with an unfelt new ecstasy, multitudes strewed
garments and olive-branches, crying with loud gladness and acclamation, 'Hosannah to the Son of David! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!' At this great King's accession to his throne, men were not ennobled, but saved; crimes were not remitted, but sins forgiven. He did not bestow medals, honours, favours; but health, joy, sight, speech. The first object the blind ever saw was the Author of sight; while the lame ran before, and the dumb repeated the hosannah. Thus attended, he entered into his own house, the sacred temple, and by his divine authority expelled traders and worldlings that profaned it; and thus did he for a time use a great and despotic power, to let unbelievers understand that it was not want of, but superiority to, all worldly dominion, that made him not exert it. But is this then the Saviour? Is this the Deliverer? Shall this obscure Nazarene command Israel, and sit on the throne of David? Their proud and disdainful hearts, which were petrified with the love and pride of this world, were impregnable to the reception of so mean a benefactor ; and were now enough exasperated with benefits to conspire his death. Our Lord was sensible of their design, and prepared his disciples for it, by recounting to them now more distinctly what should befal him; but Peter with an grounded resolution, and in a flush of temper, made a sanguine protestation, that though all men were offended in him, yet would not he be offended. It was a great article of our Saviour's business in the world to bring us to a sense of our inability, without God's assistance, to do any thing great or good; he therefore told Peter, who thought so well of his courage and fidelity, that they would both fail him, and even he should deny him thrice that very night.
• But what heart can conceive, what tongue utter the sequel? Who is that yonder, buffeted, mocked, and spurned? Whom do they drag like a felon? Whither do they carry my Lord, my King, my Saviour, and my God? And will he die to expiate those very injuries? See where they have nailed the Lord and Giver of life! How his wounds blacken, his body writhes, and heart heaves with pity and with agony! Oh Almighty sufferer, look down, look down from thy triumphant infamy! Lo, he inclines his head to his sacred bosom! Hark, he groans ! See, he expires! The earth trembles, the temple rends, the rocks burst, the dead arise. Which are the quick? Which are the dead ? Sure nature, all nature is departing with her Creator.'—T.
N° 357. SATURDAY, APRIL 19, 1712.
-Quis talia fando
The tenth book of Paradise Lost has a greater variety of persons in it than any other in the whole poem. The author, upon the winding up of his action, introduces all those who had any concern in it, and shews with great beauty the influence which it had upon
each of them. It is like the last act of a * The motto to this paper in the original publication in folio is the same with that which is now prefixed to No. 279. Reddere personæ cit convenientia cuique.
Hor. Ars Poet. 316. To each character he gives what best befits.
well-written tragedy, in which all who had part in it are generally drawn up before the audience, and represented under those circumstances in which the determination of the action places them.
I shall therefore consider this book under four heads, in relation to the celestial, the infernal, the human, and the imaginary persons, who have their respective parts allotted in it.
To begin with the celestial persons. The guardian angels of Paradise are described as returning to heaven
the fall of man, in order to approve their vigilance; their arrival, their manner of reception, with the sorrow which appeared in themselves, and in those spirits who are said to rejoice at the conversion of a sinner, are very finely laid together in the following lines :
Up into heav'n from Paradise in haste Th' angelic guards ascended, mute and sad For man; for of his state by this they knew: Much wond'ring how the subtle fiend had stol’n Entrance unseen. Soon as th'unwelcome news From earth arriv'd at heav'n gate, displeas'd All were who heard ; dim sadness did not spare That time celestial visages; yet mixt With pity, violated not their bliss. About the new-arriv’d, in multitudes Th' ethereal people ran, to hear and know How all befel. They tow'rds the throne supreme Accountable made haste, to make appear, With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance, And easily approv'd ; when the Most High Eternal Father, from his sacred cloud Amidst, in thunder utter'd thus his voice. The same Divine Person, who in the foregoing parts of this poem interceded for our first parents before their fall, overthrew the rebel angels, and created the world, is now represented as descending to Paradise, and pronouncing sentence upon the three offenders. The cool of the evening being a
circumstance with which holy writ introduces this great scene, it is poetically described by our author, who has also kept religiously to the form of words in which the three several sentences were passed upon Adam, Eve, and the serpent. He has rather chosen to neglect the numerousness of his verse, than to deviate from those speeches which are recorded on this great occasion. The guilt and confusion of our first parents, standing naked before their judge, is touched with great beauty. Upon the arrival of Sin and Death into the works of the creation, the Almighty is again introduced as speaking to his angels that surrounded him.
See! with what heat these dogs of hell advance, To waste and havoc yonder world, which I So fair and good created, &c. The following passage is formed upon that glorious image in holy writ, which compares the voice of an innumerable host of angels uttering hallelujahs, to the voice of mighty thunderings, or of many waters :
He ended, and the heav'nly audience loud Sung hallelujah, as the sound of seas, Through multitude that sung : “Just are thy ways, Righteous are thy decrees in all thy works: Who can extenuate thee?Though the author, in the whole course of his poem, and particularly in the book we are now examjning, has infinite allusions to places of Scripture, I have only taken notice in my remarks of such as are of a poetical nature, and which are woven with great beauty into the body of his fable. Of this kind is that passage in the present book, where, describing Sin and Death as marching through the works of nature, he adds,
-Behind her Death
Which alludes to that passage in Scripture so won-
Some say he bid his angels turn askance
Oblique the centric globeWe are in the second place to consider the infernal agents under the view which Milton has given us of them in this book. It is observed, by those who would set forth the greatness of Virgil's plan, that he conducts his reader through all the parts of the earth which were discovered in his time. Asia, Africa, and Europe, are the several scenes of his fable. The plan of Milton's poem is of an infinitely