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Agnoscitque suo sumptum de corpore corpus,
Aspicio, accipióque libens tua maxima rerum
I must not omit to mention an English poem, relating to the state of innocence, entitled The Glasse of Time in the two first Ages, divinely handled by Thomas Peyton, of Lincolne's Inne, Gent. 4to. Lond. 1623; and to observe also that part of Du Bartas had been translated into verse, and published, before the first edition of Sylvester's, " by William Lisle of Wilburgham, Esquier for the King's body," namely, in 1596 and 1598, and again in 1625. See the note on Milton's cxivth Psalm, ver. 11. Lisle's compound epithets, in his translation, are very numerous, and sometimes extremely beautiful. Sylvester has often merit also of this kind: but it is my duty to observe, that Sylvester is not always original; his shining phrases may be frequently traced in contemporary or preceding poets. In the notes on Milton's poetical works, I have sometimes had occasion to exhibit the expressions of Sylvester in this point of view. In justice, however, to this labo rious writer, I shall here close my remarks with a detached specimen of his poetry; to which, if Milton has been indebted, the temptation of the Serpent in Paradise Lost affords such a contrast, that the reader will be at no loss how to appreciate the improvement.
Eve, second honour of this vniverse!
With th' air of these sweet words, the wily snake
In Eve's frail brest; who thus replies: "O! knowe
"As a false louer, that thick snares hath laid
Perceiving Eve his flattering gloze digest
"No, fair," (quoth he) "beleeue not that the care
Which dims your eyes; and, further, make you seem
O World's rare glory! reach thy happy hand,
Reach, reach, I say; why dost thou stop or stand?
Of immortality: do not forestall
(As envious stepdames) thy posteritie
SYLVESTER'S DU BARTAS, Edit. 1621. pp. 192, 193.
As Milton has been supposed to have been much obliged to other poets in de scribing the unsubdued spirit of Satan, especially where he says,
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven:
I am tempted to make an extract or two from Stafford's Niobe, a prose-work already mentioned, in which Satan speaks the following words; not dissimilar to passages in Fletcher and Crashaw, which have been cited, on the same subject.
"They say forsooth, that pride was the cause of my fall; and that I dwell where there is nothing but weeping, howling, and gnashing of teeth; of which that falsehood was the authour, I will make you plainelie perceiue. True it is, sir, that I (storming at the name of supremacie) sought to depose my Creatour; which the watchful, all-seeing eye of Prouidence finding, degraded me of my angelicall dignitie, dispossessed me of all pleasures; and the Seraphin and Cherubin, Throni, Dominationes, Virtutes, Potestates, Principatus, Arch-angeli, Angeli, and all the celestiall Hierarchyes, with a shout of applause sung my departure out of Heauen: my Alleluia was turned into an Ehu; and too soone I found, that I was corruptibilis ab alio, though not in alio; and that he, that gaue me my being, could againe take it from mee. Now for as much as I was once an angell of light, it was the will of Wisedome to confine me to darknes and to create mee prince thereof: that so I, who could not obey in Heauen, might commaund in Hell. And, belieue mee, sir, I had rather controule within my dark diocese, than to reinhabite cœlum empyrium, and there liue in subjection, vnder check." Edit. 1611, pp. 16-18 part the second. Stafford calls Satan the "grim visag'd Goblin," ibid. p. 85. And, in the first part of the book, he describes the devil as having "committed incest with his daughter, the World." p. 3. He also attributes the gunpowder plot to the devil, “with his unhallowed senate of popes, the inuentors and fautours of this vnheard-of attempt in Hell." p. 149.
I have thus brought together opinions, delivered at different periods respecting the origin of Paradise Lost; and have humbly endeavoured to trace, in part, the reading of the great poet, subservient to his plan. More successful discoveries
See the note p. 336.
TODD'S ORIGIN OF PARADISE LOST.
will probably arise from the pursuits of those, who are devoted to patient and liberal investigation. Videlicet hoc illud est præcipuè studiorum genus, quod vigiliis augescat; ut cui subinde ceu fluminibus ex decursu, sic accedit ex lectione minutatim quo fiat uberius. To such persons may be recommended the masterly observations of him, who was once so far imposed upon as to believe Lauder an honest man, and Milton a plagiary: but who expressed, when "Douglas and Truth appeared, "" the strongest indignation against the envious impostor": for they are observations resulting from a wish not to depreciate, but zealously to praise, the Paradise Lost. "Among the inquiries, to which this ardour of criticism has naturally given occasion, none is more obscure in itself, or more wor thy of rational curiosity, than a retrospect of the progress of this mighty genius in the construction of his work; a view of the fabric gradually rising, perhaps, from small beginnings, till its foundation rests in the center, and its turrets sparkle in the skies; to trace back the structure, through all its varieties, to the simpli city of its first plan; to find what was first projected, whence the scheme was taken, how it was improved, by what assistance it was executed, and from what stores the materials were collected; whether its founder dug them from the quar. ries of Nature, or demolished other buildings to embellish his own." I may venture to add that, in such inquiries, patience will be invigorated rather than dispirited; and every new discovery will teach us more and more to admire the genius, the erudition, and the memory of the inimitable Milton.
Politian. Miscellaneorum Præf.
7 The Progress of Envy, an excellent poem occasioned by Lauder's attack on the character of Milton. See Lloyd's Poems, last line of Progress of Envy.
So bishop Douglas told the affectionate biographer of Dr. Johnson. See Boswell's Life of Johnson, Vol. I. p. 197, Edit. 1799.
9 See Boswell's Life of Johnson, Vol. I. p. 199.
Et sine fine Chaos, et sine fine Deus; Et sine fine magis, si quid magis est sine fine, In Christo erga homines conciliatus amor. Hæc qui speraret quis crederet esse futurum ?
Et tamen hæc hodiè terra Britanna legit. O quantos in bella duces! quæ protulit arma! Quæ canit, et quantâ prælia dira tubâ! Cœlestes acies! atque in certamine cœlum !
Et quæ cœlestes pugna deceret agros! Quantus in æthereis tollit se Lucifer armis ! Atque ipso graditur vix Michaële minor ! Quantis, et quàm funestis concurritur iris,
Dum ferus hic stellas protegit, ille rapit! Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent,
This poem by Dr. Barrow, and the next by Milton's friend Andrew Marvel, have been usually published in the editions of Paradise Lost, since the edition of 1674, to which they are both prefixed. TODD.
Et non mortali desuper igne pluunt:
At simul in cœlis Messiæ insignia fulgent,
Et currus animes, armáque digna Deo, Horrendúmque rotæ strident, et sæva rotarum Erumpunt tervis fulgura luminibus,
Et flammæ vibrant, et vera tonitrua rauco
Ad pœnas fugiunt; et, ceu foret Orcus asylum,
Et quos fama recens vel celebravit annus.
ON PARADISE LOST.
WHEN I beheld the poet blind, yet bold,
Of Dr. Samuel Barrow, the author of these verses, no account has been given by the editors of Milton. Toland only calls him a doctor of physic. Perhaps he was the physician to the army of general Monk. TODD.
Yet as I read, still growing less severe,
Lest he'd perplex the things he would explain,
Or if a work so infinite he spann'd,
Pardon me, mighty poet, nor despise
And all that was improper dost omit :
That majesty, which through thy work doth
Whence furnish such a vast expense of mind?
Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure
And, like a pack-horse, tires without his bells:
Draws the devout, deterring the profane.
Where couldst thou words of such a compass
Unfetter'd, in majestic numbers, walks:
Thy verse created, like thy theme, sublime,
How couldst thou hope to please this tinsel
Though blind, yet, with the penetrating eye
F. C. 1680.
TO MR. JOHN MILTON, ON HIS POEM ENTITLED PA-
O THOU! the wonder of the present age,
THREE poets, in three distant ages born,
FROM AN ACCOUNT OF THE GREATEST ENGLISH POET
3 These verses by F. C. are prefixed to Milton's poetical works in the edition of the English poets, 1779. They had before appeared in Fawkes and Woty's Poetical Calendar, 1763, vol. viii. 69. But we are not told who F. C. was. As I have not yet met with these verses in any other publication, I may be permitted to offer a conjec
ture that Francis Cradock,a member of the RotaClub to which Milton belonged, might be the author of them. See Wood's Ath. Ox. vol. ii. 531. TODD.
4 The expressions, in this line, occur in one of Constable's Sonnets.
The pen wherewith thow dost so heauenly singe
5 This celebrated epigram on Milton appears under the well-engraved head of the poet by R. White, prefixed to the folio edition of Paradise Lost in 1688. It has been thus published in many succeeding editions of the same poem. Drydes, I should add, is a subscriber to the edition of ices, TODD..