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may not Paradise Lost be doing this? Nay, and what though the relevancy of the poem to the present soul of the world should have been more impaired by the lapse of time and the change of ideas than we have admitted it to be, and much of the interest of it, as of all the other great poems of the world, should now be historical ? Even so what interest it possesses! What a portrait, what a study, of a great English mind of the seventeenth century it brings before us! “I wonder not so much at the poem itself, though worthy “of all wonder,” says Bentley in the preface to his Edition of the poem, “as “that the author could so abstract his thoughts from his own troubles as to “ be able to make it—that, confined in a narrow and to him a dark chamber, “surrounded with cares and fears, he could expatiate at large through the

compass of the whole Universe, and through all Heaven beyond it, and “could survey all. periods of time from before the creation to the consum“mation of all things. This theory, no doubt, was a great solace to him “in his affliction, but it shows in him a greater strength of spirit, that made “him capable of such a solace. And it would almost seem to me to be “peculiar to him, had not experience by others taught me that there is that

power in the human mind, supported with innocence and conscia virtus, “that can make it shake off all outward uneasiness and involve itself secure "and pleased in its own integrity and entertainment.” It is refreshing to be able to quote from the great scholar and critic words showing so deep an appreciation by him of the real significance of the poem which, as an edito! he mangled. Whatever the Paradise Lost is, it is, as Bentley here points ou: a monument of almost unexampled magnanimity.

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Qui legis A missam Paradisum, grandia magni

Carmina Miltoni, quid nisi cuncta legis ? Res cunctas, et cunctarum primordia rerum,

Et fata, et fines, continet iste liber. Intima panduntur inagni penetralia Mundi,

Scribitur et toto quicquid in Orbe latet ; Terræque, tractusque maris, cælumque profundum,

Sulphureumque Erebi flammivomumque specus ; Quæque colunt terras, pontumque, et Tartara cæca,

Quæque colunt summi lucida regna poli ;
Et quodcunque ullis conclusum est finibus usquam;

Et sine fine Chaos, et sine fine Deus;
Et sine fine magis, si quid magis est sine fine,

In Christo erga homines conciliatus amor.
Hæc qui speraret quis crederet esse futurum ?

Et tamen hæc hodie terra Britanna legit.
O quantos in bella duces, quæ protulit arma !

Quæ canit, et quantâ prælia dira tubâ !
Celestes acies, atque in certamine Cælum !

Et quæ cælestes pugna deceret agros ! Quantus in ætheriis tollit se Lucifer armis,

Atque ipso graditur vix Michaele minor ! Quantis et quam funestis concurritur iris,

Dum ferus hic stellas protegit, ille rapit !
Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent,

Et non mortali desuper igne pluunt,
Stat dubius cui se parti concedat Olympus,

Et metuit pugnæ non superesse suæ.
At simul in cælis Messiæ insignia fulgent,

Et currus animes, armaque digna Deo,
Horrendumque rotæ strident, et sæva rotarum

Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,
Et flammæ vibrant, et vera tonitrua rauco

Admistis flammis insonuere polo,

Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis,

Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt;
Ad poenas fugiunt, et, ceu foret Orcus asylum,

Infernis certant condere se tenebris.
Cedite, Romani Scriptores ; cedite, Graii;

Et quos fama recens vel celebravit anus : Hæc quicunque leget tantum cecinisse putabit Mæonidem ranas, Virgilium culices.

S. B., M.D.


WHEN I beheld the Poet blind, yet bold,
In slender book his vast design unfold-
Messiah crowned, God's reconciled decree,
Rebelling Angels, the Forbidden Tree,
Heaven, Hell, Earth, Chaos, All—the argument
Held me a while misdoubting his intent,
That he would ruin (for I saw him strong)
The sacred truths to fable and old song
(So Samson groped the temple's posts in spite),
The world o’erwhelming to revenge his sight.

Yet, as I read, soon growing less severe,
I liked his project, the success did fear-
Through that wide field how he his way should find
O’er which lame Faith leads Understanding blind ;
Lest he perplexed the things he would explain,
And what was easy he should render vain.

Or, if a work so infinite he spanned,
Jealous I was that some less skilful hand
(Such as disquiet always what is well,
And by ill-imitating would excel,)
Might hence presume the whole Creation's day
To change in scenes, and show it in a play.

Pardon me, mighty Poet; nor despise
My causeless, yet not impious, surmise.
But I am now convinced, and none will dare
Within thy labours ic pretend a share.
Thou hast not missed one thought that could be fit,
And all that was improper dost omit;
So that no room is here for writers left,
But to detect their ignorance or theft.

The majesty which through thy work doth reign Draws the devout, deterring the profane. And things divine thou treat’st of in such state As them preserves, and thee, inviolate. At once delight and horror on us seize ;

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