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But particularly in that passionate speech, where, seeing her irrecoverably lost, he resolves to perish with her, rather than to live without her:
Some cursed fraud Of enemy hath beguil'd thee, yet unknown, And me with thee hath ruin'd; for with thee Certain my resolution is to die: How can I live without thee? How forego Thy sweet converse and love so dearly join'd, To live again in these wild woods forlorn ? Should God create another Eve, and I Another rib afford, ýet loss of thee Would never from my heart; no, no! I feel The link of nature draw me: flesh of flesh, Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe ! The beginning of this speech, and the preparation to it, are animated with the same spirit as the conclusion, which I have here quoted.
The several wiles which are put in practice by the tempter, when he found Eve separated from her husband, the many pleasing images of nature which are intermixed in this part of the story, with its gradual and regular progress to the fatal catastrophe, are so very remarkable, that it would be superfluous to point out their respective beauties.
I have avoided mentioning any particular similitudes in my remaks on this great work, because I have given a general account of them in my paper on the first book. There is one, however, in this part of the poem, which I shall here quote, as it is not only very beautiful, but the closest of any in the whole poem;
I mean that where the serpent is described as rolling forward in all his pride, animated by the evil spirit, and conducting Eve to her destruction, while Adam was at too great a distance from her to give his assistance. These several particulars are all of them wrought into the following similitude:
Hope elevates, and joy
There swallow'd up and lost, from succour far.' The secret intoxication of pleasure, with all those transient flushings of guilt and joy, which the poet, represents in our first parents upon their eating the forbidden fruit, to those flaggings of spirit, damps of sorrow, and mutual accusations which succeed it, are conceived with a wonderful imagination, and described in
natural sentiments. When Dido, in the fourth Æneid, yielded to that fatal temptation which ruined her, Virgil tells us the earth trembled, the heavens were filled with flashes of lightning, and the nymphs howled upon the mountain tops. Milton, in the same poetical spirit, has described all nature as disturbed upon Eve's eating the forbidden fruit :
'So saying her rash hand in evil hour,
That all was lost. Upon Adam's falling into the same guilt, the whole creation appears a second time in conyulsions.
He scrupled not to eat
As all nature suffered by the guilt of our first parents, these symptoms of trouble and consternation are wonderfully imagined, not only as prodigies, but as marks of her sympathising in the fall
Adam's converse with Eve, after having eaten the forbidden fruit, is an exact copy of that between Jupiter and Juno in the fourteenth Iliad. Juno there approaches Jupiter with the girdle which she had received from Venus; upon which he tells her, that she appeared more charming and desirable than she had ever done before, even when their loves were at the highest. The poet afterwards describes them as reposing on a summit of Mount Ida, which produced under them a bed of flowers, the lotus, the crocus, and the hyacinth; and concludes his description with their falling asleep.
Let the reader compare this with the following passage in Milton, which begins with Adam's speech to Eve:
. For never did thy beauty since the day
So said he, and forbore not glance or toy
The solace of their sin, till dewy sleep i Oppress'd them.
As no poet seems ever to have studied Homer more, or to have more resembled him in the great
ness of genius, than Milton, I think I should have given but a very imperfect account of its beauties, if I had not observed the most remarkable passages which look like parallels in these two great authors. I might, in the course of these criticisms, have taken notice of many particular lines and expressions which are translated from the Greek poet; but as I thought this would have appeared too minute and over-curious, I have purposely omitted them. The greater incidents, however, are not only set off by being shewn in the same light with several of the same nature in Homer, but by that means may be also guarded against the cavils of the tasteless or ignorant.
N° 352. MONDAY, APRIL 14, 1712.
Si ad honestatem nati sumus, ea aut sola expetenda est, aut certe omni pondere gravior est habenda quam reliqua omnia.
Tull. If we be made for honesty, either it is solely to be sought,
or certainly to be estimated much more highly than ali other things.
Will HONEYCOMB was complaining to me yesterday that the conversation of the town is so altered of late years, that a fine gentleman is at a loss for matter to start discourse, as well as unable to fall in with the talk he generally meets with. Will takes notice, that there is now an evil under the sun which he supposes to be entirely new, because not mentioned by any satirist, or moralist, in any age. • Men,' said he, 'grow knaves sooner than they ever did since the creation of the world before. if
read the tragedies of the last age, you find the artful men,
persons of intrigue, are advanced very far in years, and beyond the pleasures and sallies of youth; but now Will observes, that the young
have taken in the vices of the aged, and you shall have a man of five-and-twenty, crafty, false, and intriguing, not ashamed to over-reach, cozen, and beguile. My friend adds, that till about the latter end of king Charles's reign there was not a rascal of any eminence under forty. In the places of resort for conversation, you now hear nothing but what relates to the improving men's fortunes, without regard to the methods towards it. This is so fashionable, that young men form themselves. upon a certain neglect of every thing that is candid, simple, and worthy of true esteem; and affect being yet worse than they are, by acknowledging, in their general turn of mind and discourse, that they have not any remaining value for true honour and honesty; preferring the capacity of being artful to gain their ends, to the merit of despising those ends when they come in competition with their honesty. All this is due to the very silly pride that generally prevails, of being valued for the ability of carrying their point; in a word, from the opinion that shallow and unexperienced people entertain of the short-lived force of cunning. But I shall, before I enter upon the various faces which folly, covered with artifice, puts on to impose upon the unthinking, produce a great authority for asserting, that nothing but truth and ingenuity* has any lasting good effect, even upon a man's fortune and interest.
• Truth and reality have all the advantages of appearance, and many more.
If the show of any thing be good for any thing, I am sure sincerity is
* Ingenuity seems to be here used for ingenuousness.