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descriptions of the preceding three hundred lines. There had been particularly relieved, and their beauty had been rendered more eminently confpicuous, from the ftudied equality and fcriptural plainness of the exordium of this Book; which has the effect described by Cicero to the subordinate and less shining parts of any writing, “ quò magis id, quod erit illuminatum, extare atque eminere videatur," De Orator. iii. 101. Ed. Proust. --But the conclusion of this Book, though excellent in its kind, unfortunately, from its loco-position, appears to confiderable disadvantage. Writers of Didactick Poetry, to secure the continuance of their reader's attention, must be careful not only to diversify, but as much as possible gradually to elevate, their strain. Accordingly, they generally open their several divisions with their dryer precepts, proceed then to more pleasing illustrations, and are particularly studious to close cach Book with some description, or episode, of the most embellished and attra&ive kind.

Among the various beauties, which adorn this truly divine Puem, the most distinguishable and captivating feature of excellence is the character of Christ. This is so finely drawn, that we can scarcely forbear applying to it the language of Quintilian, respecting the Olympian Jupiter of the famous sculptor Phidias; “ cujus pulchritudo adjeciffe aliquid etiam seceptæ religioni videatur, adeò majeftas operis Deum æquavit.L. xii. C. 10. It is observed by Mr. Hayley, that as in the Paradise Lost the poct seems to emulate the sublimity of Moses and the Prophets, it appears to have been his with in the Paradise Regained to copy the sweetness and simplicity of the Evangelists.—The great object of this second Poem feems indeed to be the exemplification of true Evangelical Virtue, in the person and sentiments of our Blessed Lord. From the beginning of the Third Book to ver. 363 of the next, practical Christianity, thus personified, is contrafted with the boasted pretentions of the Heathen world, in its zenith of power, fplendour, civilization, and knowledge; the feveral claims of which are fully stated, with much ornament of language and poetick decoration. After an exordium of flattering commendation addrefled to our Lord, the Tempter opens his progressive display of Heathen excellence with an eulogy on Glory (ver. 25.), which is fo intrinsically beautiful, that it may be

questioned whether any Roman orator or poet ever so eloquently and concifely defended the ambition of heroism: 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 fhort, 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 briefuels, 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 prida with which it was claimed and enjoyed, are vext most 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 wisdom eminent,

By patience, temperance." These lines are marked with that peculiar fpecies of beauty, which distinguishes Virgil's description of the amiable heroes of benevolence and peace, whom he places in Elyfium, together with his blamclefs warriours, the virtuous defenders of their country, Æn. vi. 660-665.

In the conclusion of the speech an heroical character of another kind is opposed to the warlike heroes of antiquity;--one who, though a Heathen, surpafled them all in true wisdom and true fortitude. Such indeed was the character of Socrates, such his reliance ou Divine Providence and his resignation thereto, that he seems to have imbibed his sentiments from a fource“ above the famed Caftalian spring;" and while his demeanour eminently displays the peaceable, patient, Christian-like virtues, his languago often approaches nearer than could be imagined, to that of the holy penmen, Ει ταυτη Θεω φιλον,” 1ays he, ταυτη γενεσθω.Epictet. AlATPIB. 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

admirable. The rest of the Dialogue is well supported; and it is wound up, with the best effect, in the concluding speech, 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 less than an Arch-angel,") is happily combined with the infinuating art and “fleeked tongue" of this grand Deceiver. The first nineteen lines are peculiarly illustrative of this double character: The transition that follows to the immediate Temptation then going on, and which paves the way for the ensuing change of scene, is managed with the happiest address. The poet now quits mere Dialogue for that “ union of the narrative and dramatick powers," which Dr. Johnson, speaking of this Poem, obferves “ must ever be more pleasing than a dialogue without action.”—The description of the " fpecular mount,” where our Lord is placed to view at once the whole Parthian empire, at the same time that it is truly poetical, is so 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 surpafles the prospect of the kingdoms 1 of the world from “ the mount of vision," in the eleventh Book

of the Paradise Loft. The military expedition of the Parthians, from ver. 300 to 336, is a picture in the boldest and most masterly style. It is so perfeály unique in its kind, that I know not where in Poetry, ancient or modern, to go for any thing materially resembling it. The fifteenth Book of Tallo's Jerusalem, &c, (where the two Christian Knights, who are sent in search of Rinaldo, see a great part of the habitable world, and are shown a numerous camp of their enemies,) does not appear to have furnished a single idea to our Author, either in his geographical, or his military, scene.-The speech of Satan, (ver. 346.) profefling the purpose why he showed all this to Jesus, judicioufly reverts to the immediate subject of the Temptation ; and, by urging our Lord to avail himself of the Parthian power, that he might gain possession of David's throne, and free his countrymen from the Roman yoke, it applies to those patriotick feelings which he had expressed in the First Book of this Poem, where he declares that one of his earliest sentiments of virtue, more than human, was marked with a wish “ To rescue Israel from the Roman yoke.” Our Lord's reply is close and pointed, and serves further to unfold the character of our great pattern of every virtue.—The same objection still lies against the conclusion of this Book, as against that of the preceding one ;-by coming immediately after a part so highly finished, as the view of the Parthian power in all the fplendour of a military expedition, it has not the effect it would otherwise have. It is however a necessary conclusion, and one that materially carries on the business of the Poem. An essential test of its merit is, that, however we might with it shortened, it would scarcely have been possible to compress the matter it contains.

It has been obferved of almost all the great epick poems, that they fall off, and become languid, in the conclusion. The fix last books of the Eneid, and the twelve last of the Odyssey, have been thought inferiour to the preceding parts of those poems. In the Paradife Lost the two last books fall short of the majesty and sublimity of the rest: and so, observes Dr. Newton, do the two last books of the Iliad. “ With the fall of our first parents," says Dr. Blair, “ Milton's genius seems to decline:” and though he admits the Angel's showing Adam the fate of his pofterity to be happily imagined, “ the execution," he adds, is “ languid." Addison, in pointing out the particular beauties of the two last books of the Paradise Lost, obferves that, though these were not looked upon as the most shining books of the poem, they ought not to be considered as unequal parts of it.--Perhaps the two concluding books of the Paradise Lost might be * defended by other arguments, and justified in a more effectual manner, than bas been done by Addison; but it is certainly fortunate when the subject and plan of an epick poem are such, that in the conclusion it may rise in dignity and sublimity, so as to excito to the very last the attention and admiration of the reader, This last Book of the Paradise Regained is one of the finest conclusions of a poem, that can be produced. The Book of Job, which I have supposed to have been our Author's model, materially resembles it in this respect, and is perhaps the only instance that can be put in competition with it.-It has been remarked that there is not a single fimile in the First Iliad : neither do we meet with one in the three first Books of the Paradise Regained. In the beginning of the FOURTH BOOK tho

[See Mı. Dunster's defence of them in the concluding note on Par. Loft.) poet introduces an Homerick cluster of fimilies; which seenis to mark an intention of beitowing more poetical decoration on the conclusion of the Poem, than on the preceding parts of it. --They who talk of our Author's genius being in the decline when he wrote his second Poem, and who therefore turn from it, as from a dry profaick composition, are, I will venture to say, no judges of poetry. With a fancy, fuch as Milton's, it must have been more difficult to forbear poetick decorations, than to furnith them; and a glaring profusion of ornament would, I conceive, have more decidedly betrayed the poeta fenefcens, than a want of it. The first book of the Paradise Lost abounds in fimilies, and is, jo other respects, as elevated and sublime as any in the whole poem. But here the poet's plan was totally different. Though it

may be said of the Paradise Reguined, as Longinus has said of the Odylley, that it is the epilogue of the preceding poemn, still the design and conduct of it is as different, as that of the Georgicks from the Æneid. The Paradise Regained has something of the didactick character; it teaches not merely by the general moral, and by the character and conduct of its hero, but has also many positive precepts every where interspersed. It is written for the most part in a stylc admirably condensed, and with a studied re. ferve of ornament: it is nevertheless illuminated with beauties of the most captivating kind. Its leading feature throughout is that “ excellence of composition,” which, as Lord Monboddo juftly observes, fo eminently distinguished the writings of the ancients; and in which, of all modern authors, Milton most re. fembles them.

At the commencement of this Book the argument of the Poem is considerably advanced. Satan appears hopeless of success, but fill persisting in his enterprise. The desperate folly, and vain pertinacity, of this conduct, are perfectly well exemplified and illustrated by three apposite fimilies, each successively rising in beauty above the other. The business of the Temptation being thus resumed, the Tempter takes our Lord to the western side of the mountain, and shows to him Italy; the situation of which thu poet marks with fingular accuracy, and, having traced the Tiber from its fource in the Appennines to Rome, he briefly enumerates the most confpicuous objects that may be fuppofed at first to strike the eye on a distant view of this celebrated city. Satan now becomes the Speaker, and, in an admirably descriptive

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