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to join with him in extolling their common Maker. Invocations of this nature fill the mind with glorious ideas of God's works, and awaken that divine enthusiasm which is so natural to devotion. But if this calling upon the dead parts of nature is at all times a proper kind of worship, it was in a particular manner suitable to our first parents, who had the creation fresh upon their minds, and had not seen the various dispensations of Providence, nor consequently could be acquainted with those many topics of praise which might afford matter to the devotions of their posterity. I need not remark the beautiful spirit of poetry which runs through this whole hymn, nor the holiness of that resolution with which it concludes. Having already mentioned those speeches which are assigned to the persons in this poem, I proceed to the description which the poet gives of Raphael. His departure from before the throne, and his flight through the choirs of angels, is finely imagined. As Milton everywhere fills his poem with circumstances that are marvellous and astonishing, he describes the gate of heaven as framed after such a manner that it opened of itself upon the approach of the angel who was to pass through it:
“—Till at the gate
The poet here seems to have regarded two or three passages in the eighteenth Iliad, as that in particular where, speaking of Vulcan, Homer says, that he had made twenty tripodes running on golden wheels, which, upon occasion, might go of themselves to the assembly of the gods, and, when there was no more use for them, return again after the same manner. Scaliger has rallied Homer vere severely upon this point, as M. Dacier has endeavoured to defend it. I will not pretend to determine whether, in this particular of Homer, the marvellous does not lose sight of the probable. As the miraculous workmanship of Milton's gates is not so extraordinary as this of the tripodes, so I am persuaded he would not have mentioned it had he not been supported in it by a passage in the Scripture which speaks of wheels in heaven that had life in them, and moved of themselves, or stood still, in conformity with the cherubims whom they accompanied.
There is no question but Milton had this circumstance in his thoughts, because, in the following book, he describes the chariot of the Messiah with living wheels, according to the plan in Ezekiel's vision:
“—Forth rush'd with whirlwind sound
I question not but Bossu, and the two Daciers, who are for vindicating everything that is censured in Homer by something parallel in Holy Writ, would have been very well pleased had they thought of confronting Vulcan's tripodes with Ezekiel's wheels.
Raphael's descent to the earth, with the figure of his person, is represented in very lively colours. Several of the French, Italian, and English poets have given a loose to their imaginations in the description of angels; but I do not remember to have met with any so finely drawn, and so conformable to the notions which are given of them in Scripture, as this in Milton. After having set him forth in all his heavenly plumage, and represented him as alighting upon the earth, the poet concludes his description with a circumstance which is altogether new, and imagined with the greatest strength of fancy:—
“—Like Maia's son he stood,
Raphael's reception by the guardian angels; his passing through the wilderness of sweets; his distant appearance to Adam ; have all the graces that poetry is capable of bestowing. The author afterwards gives us a particular description of Eve in her domestic employments:
“So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste
Though in this, and other parts of the same book, the subject is only the housewifery of our first parent, it is set off with so many pleasing images and strong expressions, as make it none of the least agreeable parts in this divine work. The natural majesty of Adam, and at the same time his submissive behaviour to the superior being who had vouchsafed to be his guest; the solemn hail which the angel bestows upon the mother of mankind, with the figure of Eve ministering at the table; are circumstances which deserve to be admired. Raphael's behaviour is every way suitable to the dignity of his nature, and to that character of a sociable spirit with which the author has so judiciously introduced him. He had received instructions to converse with Adam as one friend converses with another, and to warn him of the enemy who was contriving his destruction: accordingly he is represented as sitting down at table with Adam, and eating of the fruits of Paradise. The occasion naturally leads him to his discourse on the food of angels. After having thus entered into conversation with man upon more indifferent subjects, he warns him of his obedience, and makes a natural transition to the history of that angel who was employed in the circumvention of our first parents. Had I followed Monsieur Bossu's method in my first paper on Milton, I should have dated the action of Paradise Lost from the beginning of Raphael's speech in this book, as he supposes the action of the AEneid to begin in the second book of that poem. I could allege many reasons for my drawing the action of the AEneid rather from its immediate beginning in the first book than from its remote beginning in the second, and show why I have considered the sacking of Troy as an episode, according to the common acceptation of that word. But as this would be a dry, unentertaining piece of criticism, and perhaps unnecessary to those who have read my first paper, I shall not enlarge upon it. Whichever of the notions be true, the unity of Milton's action is preserved according to either of them ; whether we consider the fall of man in its immediate beginning, as proceeding from the resolutions taken in the infernal council, or in its more remote beginning, as proceeding from the first revolt of the angels in heaven. The occasion which Milton assigns for this revolt, as it is founded on hints in Holy Writ, and on the opinion of some great writers, so it was the most proper that the poet could have made use of. The revolt in heaven is described with great force of imagination and a fine variety of circumstances. The learned reader cannot but be pleased with the poet's imitation of Homer in the last of the following lines:
“At length into the limits of the north
Homer mentions persons and things, which he tells us in the language of the gods are called by different names from those they go by in the language of men. Milton has imitated him with his usual judgment in this particular place, wherein he has likewise the authority of Scripture to justify him. The part of Abdiel, who was the only spirit that in this infinite host of angels preserved his allegiance to his Maker, exhibits to us a noble moral of religious singularity. The zeal of the seraphim breaks forth in a becoming warmth of sentiments and expressions, as the character which is given us of him denotes that generous scorn and intrepidity which attends heroic virtue. The author doubtless designed it as a pattern to those who live among mankind in their present state of degeneracy and corruption:
“So spake the seraph Abdiel, faithful found
CRITIQUE ON MILTON'S PARADISE LOST. (No. 333).
WE are now entering upon the sixth book of Paradise Lost, in which the poet describes the battle of the angels; having raised his reader's expectation, and prepared him for it by several passages in my observations on the former books, having purposely reserved them for the opening of this, the subject of which gave occasion to them. The author's imagination was so inflamed with this great scene of action, that wherever he speaks of it, he rises, if possible, above himself. Thus, where he mentions Satan in the beginning of his poem : “—Him the Almighty Power
Hurl’d headlong flaming from the ethereal sky,
With hideous ruin and combustion down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
We have likewise several noble hints of it in the infernal conference :
“O prince O chief of many throned powers
But see the angry Victor hath recall’d