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rich in moral sentiment, and sublime in its mode of unfolding the highest wisdom that man can learn for this purpose it was necessary to keep all the ornamental parts of the poem in due subordination to the preceptive. This delicate and difficult point is accomplished with such felicity; they are blended together with such exquisite harmony and mutual aid; that, instead of arraigning the plan, we might rather doubt if any possible change could improve it. Assuredly, there is no poem of an epie form, where the sublimest moral is so forcibly and abundantly united to poetical delight: the splendour of the poem does not blaze indeed so intensely as in his larger production: here he resembles the Apollo of Ovid; softening his glory in speaking to his Son; and avoiding to dazzle the fancy, that he may descend into the heart." In another place, Hayley, having spoken of the "uncommon energy and felicity of composition in Milton's two poems, however different in design, dimension, and effect," adds,-"to censure the 'Paradise Regained,' because it does not more resemble the 'Paradise Lost,' is hardly less absurd, than it would be to condemn the moon for not being a sun; instead of admiring the two different luminaries, and feeling that both the greater and the less are equally the work of the same divine and inimitable Power.

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Yet this is the poem," says Dunster, "from which the ardent admirers of Milton's other works turn, as from a cold, uninteresting composition, the produce of his dotage, of a palsied hand no longer able to hold the pencil of poetry."

The origin of this poem is attributed to the suggestion of Ellwood, the quaker. Milton had lent this friend, in 1665, his Paradise Lost,' then completed in manuscript, at Chalfont, St. Giles'; desiring him to peruse it at at his leisure, and give his judgment of it ;-" which I modestly but freely told him," says Ellwood, in his Life of Himself; "and after some farther discourse of it, I pleasantly said to him, Thou hast said much of Paradise Lost, but what hast thou to say of Paradise Found?' He made me no answer, but sat some time in a muse; then broke off that discourse, and fell upon another subject." When Ellwood afterwards waited on him in London, Milton showed him his 'Paradise Regained;' and, in a pleasant tone, said to him,-" This is owing to you; for you put it into my head by the question you put to me at Chalfont; which before I had not thought of." Milton, in the opening of this poem, speaking of his Muse, as prompted

to tell of deeds Above heroick,

considers the subject of it, as well as of Paradise Lost,' to be of much greater dignity and difficulty than the argument of Homer and Virgil. But the difference here is, as Richardson observes, that he confines himself "to nature's bounds;" not as in the Paradise Lost,' where he soars "above the visible diurnal sphere :" and so far Paradise Regained' is less poetical because it is less imaginative.

"Paradise Regained' has not met with the approbation it deserves," says Jortin: "it has not the harmony of numbers, the sublimity of thought, and the beauties of diction, which are in Paradise Lost:' it is composed in a lower and less striking style ;--a style suited to the subject. Artful sophistry, false reasoning, set off in the most specious manner, and refuted by the Son of God with strong unaffected eloquence, is the peculiar excellence of this poem. Satan there defends a bad cause with great skill and subtlety, as one thoroughly versed in that craft: qui facere assuerat

Candida de nigris, et de candentibus atra.

His character is well drawn."

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The art with which the poet interests as n San Linself, is miracu'cus: the demon's plausibilities sometimes almost make us pity him. His self-excupations, his ennning arguments, to induce a belief that he means no i-will to man, and that he has no interest in hating him, are invented with astonishing eelour and wiliness: our Saviour's calm detection of Satan's sophistries is delightful and exalting The reader, who feels in this no human sympathy; no glow at intellectual force; no electrification at the spell of mighty genius; no expansion of the brain; no light to the ideas; no elation and renovation of our fallen nature;— must be unspiritualised, and half-imbruted. If any man finds himself cold and dull at first, let him consider it a duty to endeavour by degrees to warm himself. The hardest ice will melt at last by the continual impulse of a glowing sun.

If the intellectual ingredients of this book,-or this poem,-were abstract, I could account for the vulgar distaste of it: but the whole has reference to the contest of characters, and to practical results: the whole is not only involved in a progressive story; but is partly, by its prevalence of dialogue, of a dramatic interest: the reader is kept in suspense for the event of the successive trials.

Is the mean nature of many individuals fallen so low, that they can recognise nothing of sentiment or thought which is noble and generous ?-Will they call it improbable, exaggerated, and forced?-There may be poetry holding up a mirror to common life, which is harmless; but it is not virtuous, because it is of no use.

The mob perhaps like best to see their own likenesses; but it is often so far mischievous, that it is apt to confirm them in a complacency with their own follies. Our business is to improve our understandings, and exalt our hearts; to be taught to detect the delusions of sin and the devil; and to bear the sorrows and wrongs of life with a magnanimous fortitude. What poem does this like " Paradise Regained!" What poem therefore ought we so to study, and become familiar with? The very authorities, on which its chief doctrines are built, are in themselves treasures of wisdom.

But I am at a loss to guess, what, even on the mere principles of poetry, there is of excellence wanting in this poem. Invention, character, sentiment, language, -all in a high degree,-cannot be denied it. Here is unbounded expanse of thought, and profundity of wisdom: here is all the moral eloquence, which is to be found in the noblest authors of antiquity: here is much of the essence of the inspired writings: here is what perhaps popular readers like best of all, the most condensed and solid brevity: here is inexhaustible richness of thought combined with extreme plainness, and a scriptural simplicity of expression. I believe that no one ever read florid language for any number of pages without satiety and disgust. Beautiful as the first book of the "Paradise Regained" is, I think that the poem continues to rise to the last here is the difficulty; but it would be a fault if it did not. This book is principally occupied in Satan's exculpation of himself: the other books set forth the fiend's temptations, both material and intellectual; and our Saviour's sublime arguments in answer to him.

The style with which the "Paradise Regained" opens, is generally considered more sober, and less removed from its authorities, than that of the " Paradise Lost;" and this is supposed to have partly arisen from the poet's awe of his subject, and partly from the weakness of rapidly declining age. With respect to the style, so far as it is more subdued (if it be so), I believe that it has purely been caused by the choice of his subject, and the plainer and simpler language of the New Testament, which disdains all ornament, and in which the story gives less scope to imagination. Where we are relating recorded facts, from which we dare not vary, our language is necessarily more controlled and tame.

I am only surprised at the boldness of the poet in choosing this sublime theme : he could not but have foreseen all its difficulties; but knowing his own perfect familiarity with the scriptural language, his gigantic mind hazarded the task. This alone is a proof that he was not conscious of any "failure of strength;" and there is not a single passage in the execution, which indicates any such failure with whatever else compared of his immortal writings, the imagery is as distinct and picturesque; the spiritual part, the thoughts and arguments, are at least equally vigorous, original, discriminative, and profound, and perhaps more abundant: nor has the language less of that naked strength, which supports itself by its own intrinsic power.

ARGUMENT.

Tar subject proposed. Invocation of the Holy Spirit. The poem opens with John baptizing at the river Jordan: Jesus coming there is baptized; and is attested, by the descent of the Holy Ghost, and by a voice from heaven, to be the Son of God. Satan, who is present, upon this immediately flies up into the regions of the air; where, summoning his infernal council, he acquaints them with his apprehensions that Jesus is that seed of the woman, destined to destroy all their power; and points out to them the immediate necessity of bringing the matter to proof, and of attempting, by snares and fraud, to counteract and defeat the person, from whom they have so much to dread: this office he offers himself to undertake; and, his offer being accepted, sets out on his enterprise. In the mean time, God, in the assembly of holy angels, declares that he has given up his Son to be tempted by Satan; but foretels that the tempter shall be completely defeated by him: upon which the angels sing a hymn of triumph. Jesus is led up by the Spirit into the wilderness, while he is meditating on the

No edition of "Paradise Regained" had ever appeared with Arguments to the books, before that which was published in 1795 by Mr. Dunster; from which they are adopted in this edition. Peck, indeed, endeavoured to supply the deficiency, in his " Memoirs of Milton," 1740, p. 70, &c, but the Arguments, which he has there given, are too diffuse, and want that conciseness and energy which distinguish Mr. Dunster's.-TODD.

Y

commencement of his great fice of Savour of mankind. Pursuing his meditations, he narrates, in a siloquy, what divine and pellantimpie mocises he had felt from his early youth, and how his mother Mary, on perceiving these dispositions in him, had acquainted him with the cirmumstances of is birth, and informed him that he was no less a person than the Son of God; to which he at is what his wa inquiries and reflections had supplied in confirmation of this great truta, and particularly wells in the recent attestation of it at the river Joetan. Our Leri pases 5 rty days fasting, in the wilderness; where the wild beasts beer me mûd and harmies in his presence. Satan Dow appears under the form of an cid peasant; and enters ins discurse with var Lord, wondering what could have brought him alone into so danger as a place, and at the same time professing to recognise him for the person lately ackn wiedzed by J ́hn, at the river ♬ nian, to be the Son of God. Jesus briefly replies. Satan rejoins with a description of the difculty of supporting life in the wilderness; and entrats Jesus, if he be really the Son of God to manifest his divine power, by changing some of the stimes int bread Josts reproves him, and at the same time tells him that he knows who he is... Satan instantly avows himeif, and offers an artful apology for himself and his cenfurt. Our blessed Lord severely reprimands him, and refutes every part of his justification. Satan, with much semblance of Lumility, still endeavours to justify himself; and, professing his admiration of Jesus and his regard for virtue, requests to be permitted at a future time to hear more of his conversation; but is answered, that this must be as he shall find permission from above. Satan then disappears, and the book closes with a short description of night coming on in the desert.

I, WHO erewhile the happy garden sung
By one man's disobedience lost, now sing
Recover'd Paradise to all mankind,
By one man's firm obedience fully tried
Through all temptation, and the tempter foil'd
In all his wiles, defeated and repulsed,

And Eden raised in the waste wilderness.

I, who erewhile.

The proposition of the subject is clear and dignified, and is beautifully wound up in the concluding line :

And Eden raised in the waste wilderness-DUNSTER.

This is plainly an allusion to the "Ille ego qui quondam," &c., attributed to Virgil. Thus also Spenser :—

Lo, I the man, whose Muse whilom did mask,

As time her taught, in lowly shepherd's weeds,

Am now enforced, a far unfitter task,

For trumpets stern to change mine oaten reeds, &c.-NEWTON.

b By one man's disobedience lost.

"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."-Rom. v. 19.-NEWTON.

c Recover'd Paradise.

It may seem a little odd, that Milton should impute the recovery of Paradise to this short scene of our Saviour's life upon earth, and not rather extend it to his agony, crucifixion, &c.; but the reason no doubt was, that Paradise, regained by our Saviour's resisting the temptations of Satan, might be a better contrast to Paradise, lost by our first parents too easily yielding to the same seducing Spirit. Besides, he might, very probably, and indeed very reasonably, be apprehensive, that a subject, so extensive as well as sublime, might be too great a burden for his declining constitution, and a task too long for the short term of years he could then hope for. Even in his Paradise Lost," he expresses his fears, lest he had begun too late, and lest "an age too late, or cold climate, or years, should have damped his intended wing;" and surely he had much greater cause to dread the same now, and to be very cautious of launching out too far.-Thyer.

d And Eden raised in the waste wilderness.

There is, I think, a particular beauty in this line, when one considers the fine allusion in it to the curse brought upon the paradisiacal earth by the fall of Adam: "Cursed is the ground for thy sake: thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee.”—THYER.

See Isaiah, li. 3.

Thou Spirit, who ledst this glorious eremite

Into the desert', his victorious field,

Against the spiritual foe, and brought'st him thence
By proof the undoubted Son of God, inspire,

As thou art wont, my prompted song, else mute h;
And bear, through highth or depth of Nature's bounds,
With prosperous wing full summ'd, to tell of deeds
Above heroick, though in secret done,
And unrecorded left through many an age;
Worthy to have not remain'd so long unsung.
Now had the great proclaimer, with a voice

e Thou Spirit.

10

15

This invocation is so supremely beautiful, that it is hardly possible to give the preference even to that in the opening of the "Paradise Lost." This has the merit of more conciseDiffuseness may be considered as lessening the dignity of invocations on such subjects.-DUNSTER.

ness.

f Into the desert.

It is said, Matt. iv. 1,—“ Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." And from the Greek original ἔρημος, the desert, and ἐρημίτης, an inhabitant of the desert, is rightly formed the word eremite; which was used before by Milton in his "Paradise Lost," b. iii. 474: and by Fairfax, in his translation of Tasso, c. xi. st. 4 and in Italian, as well as Latin, there is eremita, which the French, and we after them, contract into hermite, hermit.-NEWTON.

As thou art wont.

g Inspire,

See the very fine opening of the ninth book of the "Paradise Lost," and also his invocation of Urania, at the beginning of the seventh book: and in the introduction to the second book of the "Reason of Church Government urged against Prelacy," where he promises to undertake something, he yet knows not what, that may be of use and honour to his country, he adds: "This is not to be obtained but by devout prayer to that Eternal Spirit, who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his seraphim, with the hallowed fire of his altar, to touch and purify whom he pleases." Here then we see that Milton's invocations of the Divine Spirit were not merely exordia pro forma. Indeed his prose works are not without their invocations. Compare also Tasso, "Il Mondo Creato," Giorn. Prim.

e langue

Se non m' inspiri tu, la voce, e 'l suono.-Dunster,

h My prompted song, else mute.

Milton's third wife, who survived him many years, related of him, that he used to compose his poetry chiefly in winter; and on his waking in a morning, would make her write down sometimes twenty or thirty verses. Being asked, whether he did not often read Homer and Virgil, she understood it as an imputation upon him for stealing from those authors, and answered with eagerness, "He stole from nobody but the Muse who inspired him" and, being asked by a lady present who the Muse was, replied "It was God's grace, and the Holy Spirit, that visited him nightly."-Newton's Life of Milton. Mr. Richardson also says, that "Milton would sometimes lie awake whole nights, but not a verse could he make; and on a sudden his poetical fancy would rush upon him with an impetus or |æstrum."-Johnson's Life of Milton. "Else mute" might have been suggested by a passage of Horace's most beautiful ode to the Muse, iv. iii. :—

O testudinis aureæ

Dulcem quæ strepitum, Pieri, temperas !

O mutis quoque piscibus

Donatura cygni, si libeat, sonum!

or from Quinctilian :-"Ipsam igitur orandi majestatem, qua nihil Dii immortales melius homini dederunt, et qua remota muta sunt omnia, et luce præsenti et memoria posteritatis carent, toto animo petamus," 1. xii. 11.—DUNSTER.

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