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folute of the fallen Angels, the amours attributed by the poets and mythologists to the Heathen Gods, while it is replete with claffick beauty, furnishes an excellent moral to those extravagant fictions: and his description of the little effect which the most powerful enticements can produce on the refolute mind of the virtuous, while it is heightened with many beautiful turns of language, is, in its general tenour, of the moft fuperiour and dignified kind. Indeed all this part of his fpeech (from ver. 191. to ver. 225.) feems to breathe such a fincere and deep sense of the charms of real goodness, that we almoft forget who is the speaker: at least we readily subscribe to what he had faid of himself in the firft k;

"I have not loft

"To love, at least contemplate and admire
"What I fee excellent in good, or fair,
"Or virtuous."

After such sentiments fo expreffed, it might have been thought difficult for the poet to return to his fubject, by making the Arch-Fiend resume his attempts against the Divine Person, the commanding majefty of whofe invincible virtue he had just been defcribing with fuch feemingly heart-felt admiration. This is managed with much addrefs, by Satan's propofing to adopt fuch modes of temptation as are apt to prevail moft, where the propenfities are virtuous, and where the difpofition is amiable and generous and, by the immediate return of the Tempter and his afsociates to the wilderness, the Poem advances towards the heighth of its argument.-Our Saviour's paffing the night is well described. The coming on of morn is a beautiful counterpart of "night coming on in the defart," which fo finely clofed the preceding Book. Our Lord's waking-his viewing the country --and the defcription of the "pleasant grove," which is to be the scene of the banquet--are all fet off with every grace that poetry can give. The appearance of Satan, varied from his first difguife, as he has now quite another part to act, is perfectly well imagined; and his fpeech, referring to fcripture examples of perfons miraculously fed in defart places, is truly artful and in character; as is his fecond fycophantick addrefs, where, having acknowledged our Lord's right to all created things, he adds,


"Nature afham'd, or, better to exprefs,
"Troubled that thou should't hunger, hath purvey'd
"From all the elements her choiceft store,

"To treat thee, as befeems, and, as her Lord,
"With honour."

The banquet (ver. 340.) comprifes every thing that Roman luxury, Eaftern magnificence, mythological fable, or poetick fancy, can supply; and, if compared with fimilar descriptions in the Italian Poets, will be found much fuperiour to them. In the concluding part of his invitation the virulence of the Arch-Fiend breaks out, as it were involuntarily, in a farcaftick allufion to the divine prohibition refpecting the tree of knowledge; but he immediately refumes his hypocritical fervility, which much refembles his language in the ninth Book of the Paradife Loft, when, in his addreffes to Eve, "perfuafive rhetorick fleek'd his tongue." The three laft lines are quite in this ftyle;

"All these are Spirits of air, and woods, and springs,
"Thy gentle minifters, who come to pay
"Thee homage, and acknowledge thee their Lord."

Our Lord's reply is truly fublime;

"I can at will, doubt not, as soon as thou,
"Command a table in the wilderness,
"And call fwift flights of Angels miniftrant,
"Array'd in glory, on my cup to attend."

This part of the Book in particular is fo highly finished, that I could wish it had concluded, as it might well have done, with the vanishing of the banquet. The prefent conclufion, from its fubject, required another ftyle of poetry. It has little defcription, no machinery, and no mythological allufions to elevate and adorn it; but it is not without a fublimity of another kind. Satan's fpeech, in which he affails our Lord with the temptation of riches as the means of acquiring greatness, is in a noble tone of dramatick dialogue; and the reply of our Saviour, where he rejects the offer, contains a series of the finest moral precepts expreffed in that plain majeftick language, which, in many parts of Didactick Poetry, is the most becoming veftitus orationis. Still it

must be acknowledged, that all this is much loft and obfcured by the radiance and enriched defcriptions of the preceding three hundred lines. These had been particularly relieved, and their beauty had been rendered more eminently confpicuous, from the ftudied equality and fcriptural plainnefs of the exordium of this Book; which has the effect described by Cicero to the fubordinate and lefs foining parts of any writing, "quò magis id, quod erit illuminatum, extare atque eminere videatur," De Orator. iii. 101. Ed. Prouft.-But the conclufion of this Book, though excellent in its kind, unfortunately, from its loco-pofition, appears to confiderable difadvantage. Writers of Didactick Poetry, to fecure the continuance of their readers' attention, must be careful not only to diverfify, but as much as poffible gradually to elevate, their ftrain. Accordingly, they generally open their feveral divifions with their dryer precepts, proceed thence to more pleafing illuftrations, and are particularly ftudious to clofe each Book with some description, or episode, of the most embellished and attractive kind.

Among the various beauties, which adorn this truly divine Poem, the moft diftinguishable and captivating feature of excellence is the character of Chrift. This is fo finely drawn, that we can scarcely forbear applying to it the language of Quintilian, refpecting the Olympian Jupiter of the famous fculptor Phidias ; "cujus pulchritudo adjeciffe aliquid etiam receptæ religioni videatur, adeò majeftas operis Deum æquavit." L. xii. C. 10. It is obferved by Mr. Hayley, that as in the Paradife Loft the poet feems to emulate the fublimity of Mofes and the Prophets, it appears to have been his wish in the Paradife Regained to copy the sweetness and fimplicity of the Evangelifts."-The great object of this fecond Poem feems indeed to be the exemplification of true Evangelical Virtue, in the person and sentiments of our Bleffed Lord. From the beginning of the THIRD Book to ver. 363 of the next, practical Christianity, thus perfonified, is contrafted with the boasted pretenfions of the Heathen world, in its zenith of power, splendour, civilization, and knowledge; the feveral claims of which are fully ftated, with much ornament of language and poetick decoration. After an exordium of flattering commendation addreffed to our Lord, the Tempter opens his progreffive difplay of Heathen excellence with an eulogy on Glory

(ver. 25.), which is fo intrinfically beautiful, that it may be questioned whether any Roman orator or poet ever fo eloquently and concisely defended the ambition of heroifm: The judgement of the Author may also be noticed (ver. 31 &c.) in the selection of his heroes, two of whom, Alexander and Scipio, he has before introduced (B. ii. 196, 199,) as examples of continency and selfdenial :-In short, the first speech of Satan opens the cause, for which he pleads, with all the art becoming his character.-In our Lord's reply, the falfe glory of worldly fame is stated with energetick briefness, and is oppofed by the true glory of obedi ence to the Divine commands. The usual modes of acquiring glory in the Heathen world, and the intolerable vanity and pride with which it was claimed and enjoyed, are next moft forcibly depicted; and are finely contrafted with those means of acquiring honour and reputation, which are innocent and beneficial :

"But, if there be in glory aught of good,
"It may by means far different be obtain❜d,
"Without ambition, war, or violence;
"By deeds of peace, by wifdom eminent,
"By patience, temperance."

Thefe lines are marked with that peculiar fpecies of beauty, which diftinguishes Virgil's description of the amiable heroes of benevolence and peace, whom he places in Elyfium, together with his blameless warriours, the virtuous defenders of their country, En. vi. 660-665.

In the conclufion of the speech an heroical character of another kind is opposed to the warlike heroes of antiquity;-one who, though a Heathen, furpaffed them all in true wisdom and true fortitude. Such indeed was the character of Socrates, fuch his reliance on Divine Providence and his refignation thereto, that he feems to have imbibed his fentiments from a fource" above the famed Castalian fpring;" and while his demeanour eminently difplays the peaceable, patient, Chriftian-like virtues, his language often approaches nearer than could be imagined, to that of the holy penmen," EI TAUT! ☺ew Qihov," fays he, " ταυτῇ γενεσθω." Epictet. AIATPIB. L. i. C. 29.- -The artful fophiftry of the Tempter's further defence of glory, and our Lord's majestically plain confutation of his arguments in the clear explanation given

of the true ground on which glory and honour are due to the great Creator of all things, and required by him,-are both ad mirable. The reft of the Dialogue is well fupported; and it is wound up, with the best effect, in the concluding fpeech, where Satan offers a vindicatory explanation of his conduct, in which the dignity of the Arch-angel, (for, though "ruined,” the Satan of Milton feldom "appears lefs than an Arch-angel,") is happily combined with the infinuating art and "fleeked tongue" of this grand Deceiver. The first nineteen lines are peculiarly illuftrative of this double character: The tranfition that follows to the immediate Temptation then going on, and which paves the way for the enfuing change of fcene, is managed with the happieft addrefs.-The poet now quits mere Dialogue for that "union of the narrative and dramatick powers," which Dr. Johnfon, fpeaking of this Poem, obferves" must ever be more pleafing than a dialogue without action."-The defcription of the "specular mount," where our Lord is placed to view at once the whole Parthian empire, at the fame time that it is truly poetical, is fo accurately given, that we are enabled to ascertain the exact part of Mount Taurus, which the poet had in his mind. The geographical scene, from ver. 268 to 292, is delineated with a precision that brings each place immediately before our eyes, and, as Dr. Newton remarks, far furpaffes the profpect of the kingdoms of the world from "the mount of vifion," in the eleventh Book of the Paradife Loft. The military expedition of the Parthians, from ver. 300 to 336, is a picture in the boldest and most masterly ftyle. It is fo perfectly unique in its kind, that I know not where in Poetry, ancient or modern, to go for any thing materially refembling it. The fifteenth Book of Taffo's Jerufalem, &c. (where the two Chriftian Knights, who are fent in fearch of Rinaldo, fee a great part of the habitable world, and are shown a numerous camp of their enemies,) does not appear to have furnished a fingle idea to our Author, either in his geographical, or his military, fcene.The fpeech of Satan, (ver. 346.) profeffing the purpose why he showed all this to Jefus, judiciously reverts to the immediate subject of the Temptation; and, by urging our Lord to avail himself of the Parthian power, that he might gain poffeffion of David's throne, and free his countrymen from the Roman yoke, it applies to thofe patriotick feelings

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