« PreviousContinue »
neglected his poetry. The narration, however, rises very happily on several occasions, where the subject is capable of poetical ornaments; as particularly in the confusion which he describes among the builders of Babel, and in his short sketch of the plagues of Egypt.
Addison. Mr. Addison observes, that “if Milton's Poem flags anywhere, it is in this narration ;” and to be sure, if we have an eye only to poetic decoration, his remark is just ; but if we view it in another light, and consider in how short a compass he has comprized, and with what strength and clearness he has expressed the various actings of God towards mankind, and the most sublime and deep truths, both of the Jewish and Christian theology, it must excite no less admiration in the mind of an attentive reader, than the more sprightly scenes of love and innocence in Eden, or the more turbulent ones of angelic war in Heaven. This contrivance of Milton, to introduce into his Poem so many things posterior to the time of action fixed in his first plan, by a visionary prophetic relation of them, is, it must be allowed, common with our Author, to Virgil, and most epic poets since his time; but there is one thing to be observed singular in our English Poet, which is, that whereas they have all done it principally, if not wholly, to have an oppor: tunity of complimenting their own country and friends, he has not the least mention of, or friendly allusion to his. The reformation of our church from the errors and tyranny of popery, which corruptions he so well describes and pathetically laments, afforded him occasion fair enough, and no doubt his not doing it must be imputed to his mind's being so unhappily imbittered, at the time of his writing, against our government both in church and state ; so that to the many other mischiefs, flowing from the grand rebellion, we may add this of its depriving Britain of the best panegyric it is ever likely to have.
Thyer. 648. They hand in hand, with wand'ring steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way.) If I might presume to offer at the smallest alteration in this divine work, I should think the Poem would end better with the foregoing passage than with the two verses here quoted. These two verses, though they have their beauty, fall very much below the foregoing passage, and renew in the mind of the reader, that anguish which was pretty well laid by that consideration,
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their Guide.
Addison. The reader probably may have observed, that the two last books fall short of the sublimity and majesty of the rest : and so likewise do the two last books of the Iliad, and for the same reas n, because the subject is of a different kind from that of the foregoing ones. The subject of the two last books of the PARADISE Lost, is history rather than poetry. However, we may still discover the same great genius ; and there are intermixed as many orna nents and graces of poetry as the nature of the subject and the Author's fidelity and strict attachment to the truth of Scripture-history, and the reduction of so many and such various events into so narrow a compass, would admit. It is the same ocean, but not at its highest tide ; it is now ebbing and retreating. It is the same sun, but not in its full blaze of meridian glory; it now shines with a gentler ray as it is setting. Throughout the whole, the Author appears to have been a most critical reader, and a most passionate admirer of holy Scripture. He is indebted to Scripture infinitely more than to Homer and Virgil, and all other books whatever. Not only his principal fable, but all his episodes are founded upon Scripture. The Scripture hath not only furnished him with the noblest hints, raised his thoughts, and fired his imagination; but hath also very much enriched his language, given a certain solemnity and majesty to his diction, and supplied him with many of his choicest, happiest expressions. Let men therefore learn from this instance, to reverence those sacred writings. If any man can pretend to deride or despise them, it must be said of him at least, that he has a taste and genius the most different from Milton's that can be imagined.
Whoever has any true taste and genius, we are confident will esteem this Poem the best of modern productions, and the Scriptures the best of all ancient ones.
THE NUMERAL LETTERS REFER TO THE BOOK,
ARON and Moses, their mission to Egypt, xii. 170.
Abdiel (a Seraph) opposes Satan promoting the Angels revolt,
&c. v. 803. Reply to his answer, v. 877. His fidelity, &c. ce-
lebrated, v. 896. Retreat from Satan's party, vi, 1. Soliloquy
on view of him at their head, vi. 114. Speech to him thereon,
vi. 130. Reply to his answer, vi. 171. Encounters him in
the battle, vi. 189. Vanquishes Ariel, Arioch, and Ramiel (fal.
len Angels) vi. 369.
Abel and Cain, their story related, xi. 429.
Abraham's and the patriarchs, xii. 113. All nations his sons by
faith, xii. 446.
Acheron, a river of hell, ii. 570.
Adam and Eve described generally, iv. 288. Particularly, iv. 295.
Their state of innocence, iv. 312, 492, 738. v. 211, 303. viii.
510. See Innocence. Night-orison, iv. 720. Morning-orison,
v. 153. Preparations to entertain the Angel Raphael, v. 313.
The table and entertainment described, v. 391. Their nuptial
bed, iv. 708. Nuptials celebrated, viii. 510. Parting preceding
the temptation, ix. 385. Behaviour after their fall, ix.
Find themselves naked, ix. 1051. Make themselves breeches of
fig-leaves, ix, 1099. Recriminate on, and reproach each other,
ix. 1187. Hide themselves from God (the Son) x. 97. Appear-
ance before him, x. 109. Repentance, X. 1098. Expulsion
from Paradise, xii. 625. See Similies.
Adam, his discourse with Eve on the prohibition of the tree of know-
ledge, iv. 411. To her at night, iv. 610.
Answer to her ques-
tion about the nightly luminaries, iv, 660. Viewing her sleeping,
v. 8. Answer to her relating her dream (the subject of Satan's
first illusive temptation) v. 94. To her weeping, v. 129. Invites
the Angel Raphael to his bower, &c. v. 361. Discourse with him,
v. 460. Continued on various subjects, viii. 651. See Ra.
phael. His creation, and dominion, &c. over the creatures, ix.
524. Prohibited the tree of knowledge, vii. 542. viii. 332. Ac-
count of himself, and objects about him, &c. on his creation,
viii. 253. Of his first view of the Divine Presence, in station in
Paradise, &c. viii. 311. Speech to God thereon, and on his so-
litude there, viii. 357. Reply to God's answer, viii. 379. Sleep
on the formation of Eve described, viii. 451. His first view of
her, viii. 481. Passion for her, viii. 521. Valediction to Ra-
phael, viii. 644. Discourse with Eve preceding the temptation
(on Satan's subtilty, and the means to resist it, &c.) ix. 205–384.
Care, and fears for her in absence, ix. 838. Meets her returning
with the forbidden fruit, ix. 847. Soliloquy lamenting her trans-
gression, ix. 896. Resolves to die with her, ix. 907. Speech to
her thereon, ix. 921. Eats the forbidden fruit, ix. 996. In-
cites her to carnal fruition (the first effect of it) ix. 1011, 1016.
The place, &c. described, ix. 1037. After speech to her on
their fall and nakedness, ix. 1067. Another, charging her as the
aggressor, ix. 1132. Reply to her answer (recriminates her
affected self-sufficiency, &c.) ix. 1162. Answer to God (the Son)
calling him to judgment, X. 115. Reply to him (accuses Eve)
X. 124. The sentence pronounced on bim, X. 197. Soliloquy
thereon, X. 720. Continued, x. 854. Wishes for his dissolu-
tion, x. 746, 771. Reflections on the immortality of the soul,
&c. x. 782. Repulsory speech to Eve attempting to consolate him,
x. 866, Relents towards her, x. 937. Reply to her (accusing
herself as the first in transgression) x. 947. Answer to her reply,
advising to die by their own hands, X. 1013. Resolves the con-
trary (submission to God's will, and repentance,) x. 1028.
Speech to Eve (on the efficacy of prayer, &c.) xi. 140. Hails her
the mother of mankind, xi. 158. Specch to her on the omens
preceding their expulsion from Paradise, xi. 193. On the view
of Michael approaching, xi. 226. Behaviour on receiving the
message, xi. 263. Speech to Michael thereon, xi. 295. Resign-
ation, xi. 370. Discourse with Michael, discovering to him in
vision what should happen in the world till the flood, xi. 450
867. Discourse with him, relating what should happen to the
general resurrection, xii. 6-551. General reply to him (reso-
lutions of future obedience, dependence on God's providence,
&c.) xii. 552. See Eve, Michael, Raphael, Similies.
Adonis, a river in Syria, i. 450.
Adramelech and Asmadai (fallen Angels) wounded, and put to
flight, vi. 365.
Air first clouded on Adam's fall, xi. 182.
Allusions. See Similies.
Amarant, a flower transplanted from Paradise to Heaven, iii. 352.
Ambition censured, ii. 482. A cause of Satan's fall, iv. 86.
Angels (celestial) obey God of choice, not necessity, v. 535. Im-
battled against Satan and the fallen Angels, vi. 15. Their sig.
nal, and march, vi. 60. Signal to engage, and engagement, vi.
202. Prevail, vi. 386. Disposition to re-engage, vi. 524. Re-.
treat, vi. 597. Rally again, and renew the fight, vi. 634.
Their song on the creation, vii. 180, 252, 557, 602. On its
dissolution and renovation, x. 641. Guardians of Paradise, their
parade, watches, &c. iv. 778, 782, 861, 977. V. 287. Re-ascent
to Heaven on Adam's fall, xi. 17. Appointed to expel Adam,
&c. from Paradise, xi. 127. Descent there, vii. 208. Post as-
signed, viii. 220. March possessing it, and expelling him, &c. xii.
626. See God the Father and Son, Similies. Guardians of man-
kind, ix, 152.
Angels (fallen) their after-state, i. 50, 339. Numbers, i. 331.
v. 743. Names, i. 374. Various pursuits, &c. ii. 528. Loss
supplied by man's creation, iï. 677. Imbattled against the Angels
celestial, vi. 79. Engagement, vi. 202. Defeat, vi. 386. Dis-
position to re-engage, vi. 507. Their artillery, -cannon, &c. vi.
572. Prevail, vi. 597. Entire defeat, and expulsion from Heaven,
vi. 831-877. Transformed to serpents, x. 519. Further pu-
nished with an illusion of the forbidden fruit, x. 547. Both an-
nually continued, x. 575. See Satan, Similies.
Apostles, their mission, &c. xii. 439. Gift of the Holy Ghost, xii.
497. Successors (wolves, false teachers, &c.) described, xii. 508.
Argument of the Poem, i. 1. ix. 1.
Ariel, Arioch, and Ramiel, (fallen Angels) vanquished, vi. 369.
Ark, its building by Noah described, xi. 728. See Noah.
Ark of the covenant described, xii. 249.
Ashtaroth and Baalim (fallen Angels,) i. 422.
Astoreth, or Astarte (a fallen Angel,) i. 438.
Author's hymn on conjugal love, iv. 750. To light, ii. 1. Invo-