페이지 이미지

there are, which a man cannot do himself; and then it will appear that it was a sparing speech of the ancients to say that a friend is another himself;' for, a friend is far more than himself. Men have their time and die many times in desire of some things which they principally take to heart, the bestowing of a child, the finishing of a work, or the like. If a man have a true friend he may rest almost secure, that the care of those things will continue after him; so that a man hath, as it were, two lives in his desires. A man hath a body, and that body is confined to a place, but where friendship is, all offices of life are, as it were, granted to him and his deputy, for he may exercise them by his friend. How many things are there

which a man cannot with any face of comeliness, say or do himself? A man can scarce allege his own merits with modesty, much less extol them. A man cannot sometimes brook to supplicate or beg, and a number of the like. But all these things are graceful in a friend's mouth, which are blushing (1) in a man's own. So again, a man's person hath many proper relations which he cannot put off. A man cannot speak to his son, but as a father; to his wife, but as a husband; to his enemy, but upon terms; whereas a friend may speak as the case requires, and not as it sorteth with the person. But to enumerate these things were endless. I have given the rule where a man cannot play his own part: if he have not a friend, he may quit the stage.




JOHN MILTON was born in London on the 9th of December 1608. He studied at Cambridge and took his degree of M. A. in 1632, after which he led for some time a private life. In the year 1657 he set out on his travels to France and Italy. He visited Galileo, then a prisoner in the Inquisition, was introduced to many of the great scholars on the Continent, and was everywhere received with the honours due to his talents and genius. He remained abroad for fifteen months; at the end of which period he was recalled to his country by the contentions which had arisen between the royalist and parliamentary parties. Milton, on his return to England, established an institution for classical instruction; but in the year 1641 he emerged from this comparatively retired life, and appeared on the political stage. He sided with the Puritans, and published several very clever controversial works, all of them proving the most ardent attachment to republican principles. In the year 1653 Milton's wife died; this loss was soon after followed by one still more melancholy, viz.: a total deprivation of sight. The composition of his most noble poem, Paradise Lost, occupied

[blocks in formation]

five years, and was finished in 1665; the subject is the fall of the Angels from Heaven, the creation of the world, and the fall of man. This wonderful composition is universally considered the finest epic poem in the English language. The subject, the grandest that could have been chosen, and of the greatest interest to all human beings, was one admirably suited to the deeply learned poet. In every part he seems to have succeeded in describing the beauties and delightfulness of heaven, and the dreadful and desolate kingdom of the Prince of Darkness. His Adam and Eve are at once so pure and yet so human, that they are highly fitted for appearing as inhabitants in a spot not yet degraded by the wickedness of fallen man. In 1670 Milton published a history of England, and also several minor works in 1672; but his health had already begun to decline, and in the year 1674 he expired, aged 66, Amongst his other poetical works we must mention 'Paradise Regained,' 'L'Allegro,' 'Il Penseroso' and 'Comus.' He has also written many prose works and several controversial pamphlets, but his strength lay in poetry, as must be observed by all who peruse his productions.

The chariot of Paternal Deity, Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel undrawn,


Itself instinct with spirit, but convey'd
By four Cherubic shapes; four faces each
Had wondrous; as with stars, their bodies all,
And wings, were set with eyes; with eyes
the wheels

(1) Calculated to make him blush.



Of beryl, and careering fires between;
Over their heads a crystal firmament,
Where, on a sapphire throne, inlaid with


Amber, and colours of the showery arch. (1)
He, in celestial panoply all arm'd
Of radiant Urim, (work divinely wrought,)
Ascended; at his right hand Victory
Sat eagle-wing'd; beside him hung his bow,
And quiver with three-bolted thunder stor'd;
And from about him fierce effusion roll'd
Of smoke, and bickering flame, and sparkles

Attended with ten thousand thousand saints,
He onward came; far off his coming shone!
And twenty thousand (I their number heard)
Chariots of God, half on each hand, were


He on the wings of cherub rode sublime
On the crystalline sky; in sapphire thron'd,
Illustrious far and wide; but by his own
First seen; them unexpected joy surpris'd,
When the great ensign of Messiah blaz'd
Aloft by angels borne, his sign in heaven;
Under whose conduct Michael soon reduc'd
His army, circumfused on either wing,
Under their head embodied all in one.
Before him Power Divine his way prepar'd;
At his command the uprooted hills retir'd
Each to his place; they heard his voice,
and went


[blocks in formation]

As from the centre thrice to the utmost
O, how unlike the place from whence they

There the companions of his fall, o'er-

fire, With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous

He soon discerns: and welt'ring by his side One next himself in pow'r, and next in crime,


Long after known in Palestine, and named

Raphael, at the request of Adam, relates how and wherefore this world was first created; that God, after

Obsequious: Heaven his wonted face renew'd
And with fresh flow'rets hill and valley the expelling of Satan and his angels out of heaven,


Raphael continues to relate how Messiah pursues the enemies towards the wall of heaven; which opening, they leap down with horror and confusion into the place of punishment prepared for them in the deep.

I, 50-81.


declared his pleasure to create another world, and other creatures to dwell therein.

VII, 111.

"This also thy request, with caution ask'd, Obtain; though, to recount almighty works, What words or tongue of seraph can suffice, Or heart of man suffice to comprehend?


'Know then, that, after Lucifer from heaven Nine times the space that measures day and night (So call him, brighter once amidst the host To mortal men, he with his horrid crew Of angels, than that star the stars among) Lay vanquish'd, rolling in the fiery gulf, But his Fell with his flaming legions through the deep Confounded, though immortal. Reserv'd him to more wrath; for now the Into his place, and the great Son return'd 5 Victorious with his saints, the Omnipotent thought Eternal Father from his throne beheld Both of lost happiness and lasting pain Torments him. Round he throws his baleful Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake: "At least our envious foe hath fail'd, who thought


That witness'd huge affliction and dismay,
Mix'd with obdurate pride, and steadfast

once, as far as angels ken, he views 10
The dismal situation waste and wild:
A dungeon horrible, on all sides round,

The rainbow.

[blocks in formation]

Their station; heaven, yet populous, retains | Her ever-during gates, harmonious sound!
Number sufficient to possess her realms
Though wide, and this high temple to

With ministeries due, and solemn rites:
But, lest his heart exalt him in the harm
Already done, to have dispeopled heaven, 25
My damage fondly deem'd, I can repair
That detriment, if such it be to lose
Self-lost; and in a moment will create
Another world, out of one man a race
Of men innumerable, there to dwell,
Not here; till by degrees of merit rais'd,
They open to themselves at length the way
Up hither, under long obedience tried;
And earth be chang'd to heaven, and heaven
to earth,-


One kingdom, joy and union without end. 35
Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye Powers of heaven!
And thou, my Word, begotten Son, by thee
This I perform; speak thou, and be it done!"
'So spake the Almighty, and to what he

His Word, the filial Godhead, gave effect. 40
Immediate are the acts of God, more swift
Than time or motion; but to human ears
Cannot without process of speech be told,
So told as earthly notion can receive.
Great triumph and rejoicing was in heaven,
When such was heard declar'd the Al-
mighty's will;

Glory they sung to the Most High, goodwill
To future men, and in their dwellings peace:
Glory to him, whose just avenging ire
Had driven out the ungodly from his sight 50
And the habitations of the just; to him
Glory and praise, whose wisdom had or-

Good out of evil to create; instead
Of spirits malign, a better race to bring
Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse
His good to worlds and ages infinite.
'So sang the Hierarchies. Meanwhile the


On his great expedition now appear'd,
Girt with omnipotence, with radiance crown'd
Of majesty divine: sapience, and love
Immense, and all his Father in him shone.
About his chariot numberless were pour'd
Cherub and Seraph, Potentates and Thrones,
And Virtues, wing'd Spirits, and chariots

On golden hinges moving, to let forth
The King of Glory, in his powerful Word
And Spirit, coming to create new worlds.
On heavenly ground they stood; and from
the shore


[blocks in formation]

Like things to like; the rest to several
Disparted, and, between, spun out the air:
And earth, self-balanc'd, on her centre hung.
"Let there be light!" said God; and
forthwith light
Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure,
Sprung from the deep; and from her native



From the armoury of God; where stand of old 65 Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodg'd To journey through the aery gloom began Sphered in a radiant cloud, for yet the sun Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle Sojourn'd the while. God saw the light was good; And light from darkness by the hemisphere

Against a solemn day, harness'd at hand,
Celestial equipage; and now came forth
Spontaneous, for within them spirit liv'd,
Attendant on their Lord: heaven open'd


[blocks in formation]

Amid the waters, and let it divide
The waters from the waters;" and God

The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure,
Transparent, elemental air, diffus'd'
In circuit to the uttermost convex


[blocks in formation]

Of this great round; partition firm and Whose seed is in herself upon the earth."

[blocks in formation]

And heaven he named the firmament: so ev'n

And morning chorus sung the Second Day. 'The earth was form'd, but in the womb as yet

Of waters, embryon immature, involv'd, Appear'd not; over all the face of earth Main ocean flow'd, not idle; but, with warm Prolific humour softening all her globe, 145 Fermented the great mother to conceive, Satiate with genial moisture; when God said, "Be gather'd now, ye waters under heaven, Into one place, and let dry land appear.' Immediately the mountains huge appear 150 Emergent, and their broad bare backs upheave

[ocr errors]

Into the clouds; their tops ascend the sky:
So high as heav'd the tumid hills, so low
Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and

Capacious bed of waters; thither they 155
Hasted with glad precipitance, uproll'd,
As drops on dust conglobing from the dry:
Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct,
For haste; such flight the great command

On the swift floods; as armies at the call
Of trumpets (for of armies thou hast heard)
Troop to their standard; so the watery

Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed, And fruit-tree yielding fruit after her kind, He scarce had said, when the bare earth, till then Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorn'd, Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad Her universal face with pleasant green; Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flower'd,

[ocr errors]


[blocks in formation]

The swelling gourd, up stood the corny reed Embattled in her field, and the humble shrub,

And bush with frizzled hair implicit : last Rose, as in dance, the stately trees, and spread


Their branches, hung with copious fruit, or gemm'd Their blossoms: with high woods the fields were crown'd,

With tufts the valleys, and each fountain side;

With borders long the rivers: that earth now Seem'd like to heaven, a seat where gods might dwell,

Or wander with delight, and love to haunt 195 Her sacred shades. Though God had yet not rain'd

Upon the earth, and man to till the ground None was: but from the earth a dewy mist Went up, and water'd all the ground, and each

Plant of the field; which, ere it was in the earth, God made, and every herb, before it grew


On the green stem; God saw that it was good:

So ev'n and morn recorded the Third Day. 'Again the Almighty spake, "Let there be lights

High in the expanse of heaven, to divide 205
The day from night; and let them be for
For seasons, and for days, and circling


And let them be for lights, as I ordain Their office in the firmament of heaven, To give light on the earth;" and it was so. And God made two great lights, great for their use

To man, the greater to have rule by day, The less by night, altern; and made the stars,

And set them in the firmament of heaven,
To illuminate the earth, and rule the day 215
In their vicissitude, and rule the night,
And light from darkness to divide. God saw,
Surveying his great work, that it was good:
For of celestial bodies first the sun,
A mighty sphere he fram'd, unlightsome


first, Though of ethereal mould: then form'd the

[blocks in formation]


Hither, as to their fountain, other stars Repairing, in their golden urns draw light, And hence the morning planet gilds her horns;

By tincture or reflection, they augment Their small peculiar, though from human sight

So far remote, with diminution seen.
First in his east the glorious lamp was seen,
Regent of day, and all the horizon round
Invested with bright rays, rejoic'd to run
His longitude through heaven's high road;
the gray,
Dawn, and the Pleiades, before him danced,
Shedding sweet influence. Less bright the

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]


And seems a moving land; and at his gills Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out, Meanwhile the tepid caves, and fens, and shores,

245 (1) Rocks. It. scoglio.

a sea.

« 이전계속 »