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the Vestibule, or ante-chamber, of Inferno; the neutral region where neither pain nor happiness are possible.
Milton, on the contrary, makes his Satan a proud Archangelic knight, whose palace of Pandemonium eclipses in splendour,
the wealth of Ormus and of Ind, Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold.
He is free in limb, as in will. He can indulge freely his passion for errantry and adventure. He can even pass through the Gates of Hell; or bend his flight down through the Starry Universe. He can gaze upwards into the dazzling light of the Empyrean. He
converse with Cherubim and Seraphim. And, if his lustre as an Archangel is obscured, he is still the idol of his lone tribe, the beloved, though dreaded, leader of the forces of Hell.
His followers, however, the dupes of his inordinate ambition, suffer a common punishment of alternate fire and ice, interspersed with songs of gallant deeds, or theologic talks, or trips of exploration amid the hills and valleys of the infernal regions.
In other words, the Miltonic Satan is fully justified in his opinion that
To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell :
What the opinion of Satan's followers may have been on this subject we are left to conjecture.
The subjectivity of the punishment of Hell, (as contradistinguished from the materialistic imagery of fire and ice), can be distinctly traced in germ, at least, in Paradise Lost.
As soon as Satan recovers from the shock of his fall through Chaos, and sees his terrible surroundings, he exclaims :
Hail, horrors ! hail,
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Subsequently when he arrives in Eden,
Horror and doubt distract
By change of place. Now conscience wakes despair
“Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell ;
But the hot hell that always in him burns,
These two ideas of the subjectivity of the punishment of Hell, and of the equitable gradations of these punishments, do not seem to have appealed to the imagination of the stern, puritan poet. It took the keen, philosophical eye of the Italian to interpret the meaning of the place where “their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched ”; and he performed the task with marvellous skill and power. Indeed, on this subject of Hell, Milton's epic does not bear any comparison with Dante's elaborate Inferno.
In the following passage, Milton seems to have caught a glimpse, at least, of the subjectivity of happiness as delineated in the Paradiso. The Archangel, after the Fall, while escorting the pair from the garden of Eden, tells Adam that if he ascend the successive terraces of the Christian virtues and attain to the highest step, the terrace of love or charity,
“then wilt thou not be loth
But this harmony of the free-will of the created being with right-doing or Universal Order, which is the central thought in the Paradiso, finds but little expression in Milton's description of the Empyrean, where “hymning" seems to form the chief employ. ment of the angelic hosts.
In another passage, Milton seems to have had in mind Dante's conception of the state of mind of those in Purgatory, as the recoil of the free-will from wrong. doing and its striving after right-doing. After the expulsion of the rebel angels from the Empyrean, the Almighty announces his intention to make
Another world ; out of one man a race
But being a good Protestant, and inheriting the Protestant tradition of hatred of every dogma of Catholicism, it stands to reason that Milton could not have intended to endorse any such heretical notion.
The influence of Dante's strong imagination, however, is evident throughout Paradise Lost. It is not plagiarism; it is not imitation; it is the effect that must necessarily follow from the contact of one powerful imagination, strong intellect, and deeply erudite mind, on that of another, in many respects, his equal. A poem, or any other work of art, on such a subject as this, if it is the production of a man of genius, expresses and must necessarily express, the highest and deepest in his philosophy of life, and its relations to the past, the present, and the hereafter. It must be a reflection of the artist's best sell, and the mode or manner of such expression must be the only way in which he could possibly convey to the world what is in his deepest heart. If this is not the case, he is not a true artist. Cædmon in his Poem, Dante in his Divina Commedia, and Milton in his Paradise Lost, have given to the world, each in his own form, his philosophy with regard to some of the most profound problems that can exercise the mind of humanity. Each poem is coloured, it is true, by the temporal environment of