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In counterview within the gates, that now
O Son, why sit we here each other viewing 235
he tells us, that the brims of it plain that these I have mention'd, were incompassed by Terror, Rout, in which persons of an imaginary Discord, Fúry, Pursuit, Masacre nature are introduced, are such and Death. In the fame figure of short allegories as are not designed speaking, he represents Victory as to be taken in the literal sense, following Diomedes; Discord as the but only to convey particular cirmother of funerals and mourning; cumstances to the reader after an Venus as dressed by the Graces; unusual and entertaining manner. Bellona as wearing Terror and Con- But when such persons are introfternation like a garment. I might duced as principal actors, and engive several other instances out of gaged in a feries of adventures, Homer, as well as a great many they take too much upon them, out of Virgil. Milton has like and are by no means proper for an wise very often made use of the heroic poem, which ought to apfame way of speaking, as where he pear credible in its principal parts. tells us, that Victory fat on the I cannot forbear therefore thinking right hand of the Messiah when he that Sin and Death are as improper marched forth against the rebel agents in a work of this nature, as Angels; that at the rising of the Strength and Necessity in one of the fun the Hours unbarr'd the gates tragedies of Æschylus, who repreof light; that Discord was the sented those two persons nailing daughter of Sin. Of the same na- down Prometheus to a rock, for ture are those expressions, where which he has been juftly censur'd describing the finging of the night- by the greatest critics. I do not ingale, he adds, Silence was pleas'd; know any imaginary perfon made and upon the Meffiah's bidding use of in a more sublime manner peace to the Chaos, Confufion heard of thinking than that in one of bis voice. I might add innume- the prophets, who describing God pable inftances of our poet's writ- as descending from Heaven, and ing in this beautiful figure. It is- visiting the lins of mankind, adds
For us his ofspring dear? It cannot be
that dreadful circumstance, Before fieur Voltaire and other critics, bim went the Peftilence. It is cer- wherein likewise the characters and tain this imaginary person might actions of Sin and Death are vindi. have been described in all her pur- cated in answer to Mr. Addison. It ple fpots. The Fever might have is hoped that some skilful hand or marched before her, Pain might other will translate this piece for have stood at her right hand, Phren. the benefit of the English reader. zy on her left, and Death in her Milton may rather be juftified for rear. She might have been intro- introducing such imaginary beings duced as gliding down from the as Sin and Death, because a great tail of a comet, or darted upon the part of his poem lies in the invisible earth in a flash of lightning : She world, and such fictitious being might have tainted the atmosphere may better have a place there; and with her breath; the very glaring the actions of Sin and Death are at of her eyes might have scatter'd in- least as probable as those ascribed fection. But I believe every reader to the good or evil Angels. Besides will think, that in such sublime writ- as Milcon's fubject necessarily adings the mentioning of her as it is mitted fa few real persons, he was done in Scripture, has fomething in a manner obliged to supply that in it more just, as well as great, defect by introducing imaginary than all that the most fanciful poet ones: and the characters of Sin and could have bestowed upon her in the Death are perfectly agreeable to the richness of his imagination. Addison. hints and sketches, which are given I have been inform'd, that there of them in Scripture. The Scriphas lately been publish'd in High ture had made persons of them beDutch a Critical Dissertation on the fore in several places; only the marvelous in poetry, and its con- Scripture has represented them as I nexion with the probable, in a de- may say in miniature, and he has fense of Milton's Paradise Loft drawn them in their full lengch and against several objections of Mon proportions,
Beyond this deep; whatever draws me on, 245
shade Inseparable must with me along:
250 For Death from Sin no pow'r can separate. But left the difficulty of passing back Stay his return perhaps over this gulf Impaffable, impervious, let us try Adventrous work, yet to thy pow'r and mine 255 Not unagreeable, to found a path Over this main from Hell to that new world Where Satan now prevails, a monument Of merit high to all th’infernal host,
245. - whatever draws me on, the same manner in the best Classic Or Sympathy, or some connatural authors. Hor. Sat. II. VIII. 22.
force] The modern philosopher may perhaps take offense at -quos Mæčenas adduxerat umbras. this now exploded notion, but every Epift. I. V. 28. friend to the Muses will, I doubt not, pardon it for the sake of that locus est et pluribus umbris. fine ftrain of poetry, which it has given the poet an opportunity of But it has a farther propriety and introducing in the following descrip- beauty in this place, as Death seem'd tion. Thyer.
a shadow, II. 669. and was the in
separable companion as well as of 249. - Thou my shade &c.] We spring of Sin. Shakespear in the Sometimes find foade used much after fame manner uses shadow as the
Easing their passage hence, for intercourse, 260
way, so strongly drawn By this new felt attraction and instinct.
Whom thus the meager Shadow answer'd soon. Go whither fate and inclination strong 265 Leads thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err The way, thou leading, such a sent I draw Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste The favor of Death from all things there that live: Nor Thall I to the work thou enterprisest 270 Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid.
So saying, with delight he snuff’d the smell Of mortal change on earth. As when a flock Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote,
Latins use umbra. 2 Hen. IV. A&II. 263. By this new felt attrnétion Poins to Prince Henry,
and inslinet.] He uses infiinct
here as a subitantive, and in other I am your shadow, my Lord, I'll
places as a participle, in the same
manner and in the same sense as 260.
for intercourse, the Latins use inftin&tus: but inOr transmigration, as their lot stances of his using English words as
pall lead ] Intercourse, paf- Latin words are innumerable. fing frequently backward and for 266. ward; transmigration, quitting Hell The way,] Nor mistake the way. once for all to inhabit the new A remarkable expresion. creation; they uncertain
As when a frock which their lot should be.
Of ravenous fowl &c s Of Vol.
Richardson. turs particularly it is said by Pliny, VOL. II.
Against the day of battel, to a field,
280 Sagacious of his
from so far. Then both from out Hell gates into the waste Wide anarchy of Chaos damp and dark Flew diverse, and with pow'r (their pow'r was great) Hovering upon the waters, what they met
Solid that they will fly three days before. diebus ante ea loca circumvolent, in hand to places where there are fu- quibus cadavera futura sunt, ineptè ture carcasses. Triduo autem antea fanè ad odorandi facultatem refer. volare eos, ubi cadavera futura sunt. tur, cum eorum, quæ necdum sunt, Lib. 10. cap. 6. And (what pro- cadaverum nullus odor effe poflit, bably gave occafion to this fimili- Sensus enim præfentium eft. Quare tude in Milton) Lucan has described ad quandam augurandi vim, fi fic the ravenous birds that follow'd the loqui poflumus, id pertinere putanRoman camps, and sented the battel dum eft. Ridicule igitur Georgius of Pharsalia. VII. 831.
Pietorius, Jamque diu volucres civilia caftra Hanc volucrem narrant luces tres fecutæ
noffe cadaver Conveniunt
Venturum, olfa&tu tam viget nunquam se tanto vulture hæc volucris. cælum
Aldrov. Ornith. Lib. 2. Induit, aut plures prefierunt aera I Mall not undertake absolutely to penna.
defend Milton's introducing a fabuAnd to this let me add, what Mr. lous Rory by way of fimile ; yet I Thyer has quoted from Aldrovan- think in this place it may be pardus. Quod autem aliqui addunt, don'd, fince no other illustration tam fagaciter odorari vultures, ut could have been found so pat to the biduo triduove, imo feptenis, ut alii, present cafe.