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eyes,

To compile a history from various authors, when they can only be confulted by other is not eafy, nor poffible, but with more skilful and attentive help than can be commonly obtained; and it was probably the difficulty of confulting and comparing that stopped Milton's narrative at the Conqueft; a period at which affairs were not yet very intricate, nor authors very numerous.

For the fubject of his epick poem, after much deliberation, long chufing, and beginning late, he fixed upon Paradife Loft; a defign fo comprehenfive, that it could be juftified only by fuccefs. He had once defigned to celebrate King Arthur, as he hints in his verfes to Manfus; but Arthur was referved, fays Fenton, to another destiny.

It appears, by fome fketches of poetical projects left in manufcript, and to be seen in a library at Cambridge, that he had digefted his thoughts on this fubject into one of thofe wild dramas which were anciently called Myfteries; and Philips had feen what he terms part of a tragedy, beginning with the firft ten lines of Satan's addrefs to the Sun. Thefe Myfteries confift of allegorical perfons; fuch as Justice, Mercy, Faith. Of the tragedy or myftery of Paradife Loft there are two plans.

The

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Mofes, #gonoyiğsı, recounting how he affumed his true body; that it corrupts not, because it is with God in the mount; declares the like of Enoch and Elijah; befides the purity of the place, that certain pure winds, dews, and clouds, preferve it from corruption; whence exhorts to the fight of God;" tells, they cannot fee Adam in the ftate of inno cence, by reafon of their fun.

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Chorus of Angels finging a hymn of the Creation,

Heavenly Love,

ACT II.

Evening Star.

Chorus fing the marriage-fong, and defcribe Paradife,

ACT III.

Lucifer, contriving Adam's ruin.

Chorus fears for Adam, and relates Lucifer's rebellion and fall.

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Confcience cites them to God's examination Chorus bewails, and tells the good Adam has loft,

ACT V.

Adam and Eve driven out of Paradife,

prefented by an angel with

Labour, Grief, Hatred, Envy, War, Famine, Feftilence, Sickness, Difcontent, Ignorance, Fear, Death,

Mutes,

To whom he gives their names,
Heat, Tempeft, etc.

Likewife Winter,

Faith,

Hope, comfort him, and inftru&t him.

Charity

Chorus briefly coucludes.

Such was his first design, which could have produced only an allegory, or mystery. The following ketch feems to have attained more maturity.

Adam unparadifed:

The angel Gabriel, either defcending or entering; fhewing, fince this globe was created, his frequency as much on earth as in heaven; defcribes Paradife. Next, the Chorus, fhewing the reafon of his coming to keep his watch in Paradife, after Lu cifer's rebellion, by command from God; and withal expreffing his defire to fee and know more concer.. ning this excellent new creature, man. The angel Gabriel, as by his name fignifyng a prince of power, tracing Paradife with a more free office, paffes by the station of the Chorus, and, defired by them, relates what he knew of man; as the creation of Eve, with their love and marriage. After this, Lucifer appears, after his overthrow, bemoans himself, feeks revenge on man. The Chorus prepare refiftance at his first approach. At laft, after difcourfe of enmity on either fide, he departs: whereat the Chorus fings of the battle and victory in heaven, against him and his accomplices: as before, after the first act, was fung a hymn of the creation. Here again

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may appear Lucifer, relating and infulting in what he had done to the deftruction of man. Man next, and Eve having by this time been feduced by the Ser. pent, appears confusedly covered with leaves, Con fcience, in fhape, accufes hin; Justice cites him to the place whither Jehovah called for him, In the mean while, the Chorus entertains the stage, and is informed by fome angel the manner of the Fall. Here the Chorus bewails Adam's fall: Adam then and Eve return; accuse one another; but espe cially Adain lays the blame to his wife; is ftubborn in his offence. Justice appears, reafons with him, convinces him, The Chorus admonifheth Adam, and bids him beware Lucifer's example of impenitence. The angel is fent to banish them out of Paradife; but before caufes to pafs before his eyes, in fhapes, a mask of all the evils of this life and world, He is humbled, relents, defpairs; at last appears Mercy, comforts him, promises the Meffiah; then calls in Faith, Hope, and Charity; inftructs him; he repents, gives God the glory, fubmits to his penalty. The Chorus briefly concludes. Compare this, with the former draught."

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These are very imperfect rudiments of Paradife Loft; but it is pleafant to fee great works in their feminal state, pregnant with latent poffibilities of excellence; nor could there be any more delight ful entertainment than to trace their gradual growth and expanfion, and to obferve how they are fometimes fuddenly advanced by accidental hints,

and

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