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And lovers of their country, as may seem ;
355 But herein to our prophets far beneath, As men divinely taught, and better teaching The solid rules of civil
government In their majestic unaffected style Than all th' oratory of Greece and Rome.
360 In them is plainest taught, and easiest learnt, What makes a nation happy', and keeps it so, What ruins kingdoms, and lays cities flat; These only with our law best form a king.
So spake the Son of God; but Satan now 365
Since neither wealth, nor honour, arms nor arts,
370 Or active, tended on by glory', or fame,
354. Milton has statists for civilization, and knowledge; the statesmen in his Areopagitica. several claims of which are fully Prose works, p. 424. ed. Amst. stated, with much ornament of 1698. Dunster.
language, and poetic decoration. 362. --makes happy, and keeps It is observed indeed by Mr. so] Hor. Epist. i. vi. 2.
Hayley, that “as in the Paradise
Lost the poet seems to emulate -facere et servare beatum,
the sublimity of Moses and the
Prophets, it appears to have 562. Prov. xiv. 34. Righteous- been his wish in the Paradise ness exalteth a nation, but sin is a Regained to copy the sweetness reproach to any people. Dunster. and simplicity of the Evan
365. So spake the Son of God;} gelists.” Life of Milton, p. 125. From the beginning of the third And certainly the great object book to this place practical of this second poem seems to be Christianity, personified as it the exemplification of true evanwere in the character of Jesus, gelical virtue, in the person
and is contrasted with the boasted sentiments of our blessed Lord. pretensions of the heathen world, Dunster. in its zenith of power, splendour,
What dost thou in this world ? the wilderness
380. —fulness of time,] Gal. vil, without shewing at the same iv. 4. When the fulness of the time the absurdity of it. He has time was come, God sent forth his therefore very judiciously made Son.
him blunder in the expression, 382.-if I read ought in hea- of portending a kingdom which was ven, &c.] A satire on Cardan, without beginning. This destroys who with the boldness and im- all he would insinuate. The piety of an atheist and a mad- poet's conduct is fine and inman, both of which he was, cast genious. See Warburton's Shakethe nativity of Jesus Christ, and speare, vol. vi. Lear, act i. sc. 8. found by the great and illustrious 382. The poet certainly never concourse of stars at his birth, meant to make the Tempter a that he must needs have the for: blunderer. The language is here tune which befel him, and be- intended to be highly sarcastic come the author of a religion, on the eternity of Christ's kingwhich should spread itself far dom, which, the Tempter says, and near for many ages. The will have one of the properties great Milton, with a just indig- of eternity, that of never beginnation of this impiety, hath sa- ning. This is that species of intirized it in a very beautiful sulling wit which Mr. Thyer says, manner, by putting these reve- when he defends the introducries into the mouth of the Devil: tion of it into the sixth book of where it is to be observed, that Par. Lost, “is most peculiar to the poet thought it not enough proud contemptuous spirits.”. to discredit judicial astrology by Dunster. making it patronised by the De
Sorrows, and labours, opposition, hate
So say’ing he took (for still he knew his power Not yet expir’d) and to the wilderness
395 Brought back the Son of God, and left him there, Feigning to disappear. Darkness now rose, As day-light sunk, and brought in low’ring night Her shadowy offspring, unsubstantial both, Privation mere of light and absent day. Our Saviour meek and with untroubled mind After his aery jaunt, though hurried sore, Hungry and cold betook him to his rest, Wherever, under some concourse of shades, Whose branching arms thick intertwin'd might shield From dews and damps of night his shelter'd head, 406 But shelter'd slept in vain, for at his head The Tempter watch’d, and soon with ugly dreams
386. Sorrows, and labours, op- tortured, bound, - at length, position, hale
having suffered every species of Attends thee, &c.]
barbarous treatment, he shall be Compare the very remarkable crucified." Dunster. description of the fate which 399. —ünsubstantial both,] His Plato says it is easy to foresee philosophy is here ill placed. It will attend the Just Man. De dashes out the image he had just Repub. lib. ii. pi 361. ed. Serran. been painting. Warburton. ο δικαίος μαστιγωσεται, στρεβλώσεται, 408. and soon with ugly δεδησεται
dreams &c.] It is remarkable, παθων ανασχινδιλουθησεται. “ The that the poet made the Devil beJust Man shall be scourged, gin his temptation of Eve by
-- τελευτων παντα κακά
Disturb'd his sleep; and either tropic now 'Gan thunder, and both ends of heav'n, the clouds 410
working on her imagination in de rigos votov, agirrega. Id. de Isid. dreams, and to end his tempt- p. 363. If by either tropic be ation of Jesus in that manner. meant the right side and the left, I leave it to the critics to find by both ends of heaven may be out the reason; for I will ven- understood, before and behind. ture to say he had a very good I know it may be objected, that Warburton.
the tropics cannot be the one It may be observed, that the the right side, and the other the Tempter here tries only “ to left, to those who are placed withdisturb our Lord with ugly out the tropics: but I do not dreams,” and not to excite in think that objection to be very him, as in Eve,
material. I have another expoVain hopes, vain aims, inordinate
sition to offer, which is thus: It desires.
thundered all along the heaven,
Dunster. from the north pole to the tropic 409. -and either tropic now
of Cancer, from thence to the 'Gan thunder, and both ends of to the south pole. From pole to
tropic of Capricorn, from thence heav'n, the clouds &c.] Place the stops thus :
pole. The ends of heaven are the
poles. This is a poetical tem-and either tropic now 'Gan thunder, and both ends of heav'n. pest, like that in Virgil
, Æn. i. The clouds &c.
Intonuere poli It thundered from both tropics, Id est extremæ partes cæli that is, perhaps, from the right a quibus totum coelum contonuand from the left. The ancients isse significat. Servius. Jortin. had very different opinions con- Mr.
Sympson proposes to read cerning the right and the left and point the passage thus; side of the world. Plutarch says,
-and either tropic now that Aristotle, Plato, and Pytha- 'Gan thunder; at both ends of heav'n goras were of opinion, that the the clouds &c. east is the right side, and the
; west the left; but that Empedo- Mr. Meadowcourt points it thus; cles held that the right side is and either tropic now towards the summer tropic, and
'Gan thunder, and both ends of
heav'n : the clouds &c. the left towards the winter tropic. Πυθαγορας, Πλατων, Αριστο- But after all I am still for preisans, dežue tou zoomov TA OVATONIKOS serving Milton's own punctuMesen, am' wie j a Xa XINCEws' aegsa ation, unless there be very good στερα δε, τα δυτικα. Εμπεδοκλης reason for departing from it, and δεξια μεν τα κατα τον θερινον τροπικον: I understand the passage thus: agroteger de ta xatu toy xosipesgivor. and either tropic now 'gan thunder, De Placit. Philos. ii. 10. AYUTTI it thundered from the north and OSOVTAL TA jesy Ewce, TOV xooLov trgoow from the south, for this I conTOY sbyell, TOC
ceive to be Milton's meaning,
From many a horrid rift abortive pour'd
the situation of our Saviour confined, as Mr. Thyer supposes,
This bold figure our poet has 409. Most probably, as Mr. borrowed from Æschylus, where Dunster says, by either tropic he is describing the storm, which Milton meant the north and scattered the Grecian fleet. Agasouth, and by both ends of heaven memnon. ver. 659. the east and west;
pur- Ξυνωμοσαν γαρ, οντες εχθιστοι σοπριν, pose is to describe a general Πυρ και θαλασσα, και τα πισσ' εδειξα. storm coming from every point of the horizon at once." But I
Φθειρονσε σον δυστηνον Aργειων στρατον. see no reason for supposing the
Thyer. preposition from or at omitted; Or perhaps it means only water the syntax is exact without it. and fire falling down both togeE.
ther, according to Milton's usage 410.
the clouds of the word ruin in Paradise From many a horrid rift, abor- Lost, i. 46. vi. 868. tive pour'd
413. -nor slept the winds Fierce rain with lightning mix'd, Within their stony caves,] &c.]
So Virgil describes the winds in Virgil, Æn. iii. 196.
the prisons of Æolus, Æn. i. 52. Involvere diem nimbi, et nox hu
And Lucan, v. 608. mida cælum
-non imbribus atrum Abstulit; ingeminant abruptis nubi
Æolii jacuisse Notum sub carcere bus ignes. This storm of Milton will lose Crediderim. nothing by a comparison with And Lucretius, lib. vi. the celebrated ones of Homer in his fifth Odyssey, and of Virgil
Speluncasque velut saxis pendentibus
structas in his first Æneid. It is painted Cernere, quas venti quem, tempestate from nature, and in the boldest