To hope longevity, and to survive
Your master's funeral, not soon absorb'd
In the oblivious Lethæan gulf,
Shall to futurity perhaps convey
This theme, and by these praises of my sire
Improve the Fathers of a distant age !"

The boy, the world's vice-luminary.--In mythology it is related that Apollo, or the Sun, permitted his son Phaėton to drive the celestial coursers, which according to the fable, bear the sun round the earth, and that the unpractised charioteer would have set the world on fire, had be not been precipitated into the river Po.

Lethæan gulf.---Those who tasted the waters of Lethe forgot the past. 3

Milton's minor pieces were written before he was thirty : the Paradise Lost was published when he had attained the age of sixty years. Comus, L'Allegro, and Penseroso, are delightful, but Paradise Lost has a power and elevation in it, a variety, and sublimity of excellence, which have given to Milton that rank as a sacred poet which belongs to him only. But his fame was not awarded to him while he lived his place in society was humble, and he was never distinguished during his liso but by a few of his more discerning contemporaries.

“He stood alone,” says Mr. Campbell, Wand aloof above his times, the bard of immortal subjects, and, as far as there is perpetuity in language, of immortal fame. The very choice of those subjects bespoke a conteinpt for any species of excellence that was attainable by other men. There is something that overawes the mind in conceiving his long deliberated selection of that theme -his attempting it when his eyes were shut upon the face of nature-his dependence, we might almost say, on supernatural inspiration, and in the calm air of strength with which he opens Paradise Lost, beginning a mighty performance without the appearance of an effort. Taking the subject all in all, his powers could nowhere else have enjoyed the same scope. It was only from the height of this great argument that he could look back upon eternity past, and forward upon eternity to come, that he could survey the abyss of infernal darkness, open visions of Paradise, or ascend to heaven and breathe empyreal air."

The subject of Paradise Lost, is taken from that portion of the Hebrew Scriptures which relates to our first parents. It supposes, what many Christians admit to be true in theology, that God placed the first human pair in a happy condition, and promised that they and all their posterity should remain for ever in that happy state, provided they would obey God; but that, if they would disobey the divine commands, they should be punished. They disobeyed God, were driven out of Paradise, and they and all their descendants were, thenceforth, made liable to sin, sorrow, and death.

Satan, a malignant spirit, tempted the first woman to break the prohibition of God, she tempted her husband, and both, in consequence of their weakness, were driven out from Eden, their primitive dwelling place, and destined to "labour and sorrow," in some other region. The only alleviation which their expulsion from Paradise admitted, was the promise of God, that “one greater man” than Adam should restore his descendants to the moral image of God, which they had forfeited, and likewise re. concile them to God's government and will. They can

SENTENCE PRONOUNCED ON ADAM AND EYE. ' In the XIth Book of the Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve, after they had broken the divine command, are represented as lamenting their offence, when Michael, a spirit sent from God, descends to them, and commands them to leave their native Paradise. Perceiving his approach, Adam to Eve

- "thus spake :
Eve, now expect great tidings, which perhaps
Of us will soon determine, or impose
New laws to be observed; for I descry
From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hill


One of the heav'nly host, and by his gait,
None of the meanest, some great potentate
Or of the thrones above, such majesty
Invests him coming; yet not terrible,
That I should fear, nor sociably mild,
As Raphael, that I should much confide,
But solemn and sublime, whom not t offend,
With rev’rence I must meet, and thou retire.

He ended ; and the Archangel soon drew nigh.
Not in his shape celestial, but as man
Clad to meet man; over his lucid arms
A military vest of purple flow'd,
Livelier than Melibaan, or the grain
Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old
In time of truce ; Iris had dipt the woof;
His starry helm unbuckled show'd him prime
In manhood where youth ended; by his side
As in a glist'ring zodiac hung the sword,
Satan's dire dread, and in his hand the spear.
Adam bow'd low: he kingly from his state
Inclin'd not, but his coming thus declar'd:

Adam, heav'n's high behest no preface needs: Sufficient that thy pray’rs are heard, and death, Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress, Defeated of his seizure many days Giv'n thee of grace, wherein thou may'st repent, And one bad act with many deeds well done Mayst cover: well may then thy Lord appeas'd Redeem thee quite from Death's rapacious claim; But longer in this Paradise to dwell Permits not; to remove thee I am come, And send thee from the garden forth to till The ground whence thou wast taken, fitter soil.

He added not, for Adam at the news Heart-struck with chilling gripe of sorrow stood, That all his senses bound; Eve, who unseen Yet all had heard, with audible lament Discover'd soon the place of her retire.”

A military vest, fc.—This magnificent attire of the archangel is compared with that of Asiatic kings, who in ancient times endeavoured in their warfare to astonish their enemies by their splendour, as well as to overcome them by their military prowess.

Iris had dips the woof.The woof of any texture is composed of the transverse threads which interlace the threads thạt form the warp of the woven substance. Iris is the goddess of the rainbow, which exhibits all the prismatic colours, and consequently the most pure and vivid hues in nature.

THE DEPARTURE FROM PARADISE. The archangel fulfils the commission with which God had intrusted him with peculiar tenderness to our first parents. They are not driven into an untried condition of existence without gracious preparation. Michael “ ascends in the visions of God” with Adam, and fore. shows to him the degeneracy and misery of his posterity, but to console him for these treinendous prospects, he reveals to him 6 salvation by Jesus Christ”--the reformation of a “ perverted world," and the commencement of a kingdom, "Founded in righteousness and peace and love,

To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss." Thus enlightened and encouraged, Adam submissively replies to his celestial visitant

“ Greatly instructed I shall hence depart,
Greatly in peace of thought, and have my fill
Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain ;
Beyond which was my folly to aspire.
Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best,
And love with fear the only God, to walk
As in his presence, ever to observe
His providence, and on him sole depend ;
Merciful over all his works, with good

Still overcoming evil, and by small
Accomplishing great things, by things deem'd weak
Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise
By simply meek : that suffering for truth's sake
Is fortitude to highest victory,
And to the faithful, death the gate of life
Taught this by his example whom I now ,
Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest. vir

To whom thus also th' angel last replied.
This having learn'd, thou hast attain'd the sum
Of wisdom ; hope no high’r, though all the stars
Thou knew'st by name, and all th' ethereal pow'rs,
All secrets of the deep, all Nature's works,
Or works of God in heay'n, air, earth, or sea,
And all the riches of this world enjoy'dst,
And all the rule, one empire; only add
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable, add faith,
Add virtue, patience, temperance, add love,
By name to come, call'd Charity, the soul
Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loath
To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess
A Paradise within thee, happier far.

Let us descend now therefore from this top Of speculation ; for the hour precise Exacts our parting hence; and see, the guards, By me encamp'd on yonder hill, -expect Their motion, at whose front a flaming sword In signal of remove, waves fiercely round; We may no longer stay: go, waken Eve; Her also I with gentle dreams have calm'd Portending good, and all her spirits compos'd To meek submission: thou at season fit Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard, Chiefly what may concern her faith to know: That ye may live, which will be many days, Both in one faith unanimous though sad, With cause, for evils past, yet much more cheer'd With meditation on the happy end.

He ended, and they both descend the bill;

« 前へ次へ »