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Encomiums upon Milton.
IN PARADISUM AMISSAM SUMMI Messiah crowned, God's reconciled decree,
Heaven, Hell, Earth, Chaos, all; the argument
Held me awhile misdoubting his intent, Qui legis Amissam Paradisum, grandia magni
That he would ruin (for I saw him strong) Carmina MILTONI, quid nisi cuncta legis?
The sacred truths to fable and old song; Res cunctas, et cunctarum primordia rerum,
(So Samson groped the temple's post in spight) Et fata, et fines, continet iste liber.
The world o'erwhelming, to revenge his sight. Intima panduntur magni penetralia mundi,
Yet, as I read, still growing less severe, Scribitur et toto quicquid in orbe latet:
I liked his project, the success did fear; Terræque, tractúsque maris, cælúmque profun- Through that wide field how he his way should dum,
find, Sulphureumque Erebi, flammivomúmque spe O'er which lame Faith leads Understanding blind; Quæque colunt terras, pontúmque, et Tartara And what was easy he should render vain.
Lest he'd perplex the things he would explain,
Or if a work so infinite he spann'd,
Jealous I was, that some less skilful hand
And, by ill imitating would excel) Et sine fine magis, si quid magis est sine fine,
Might hence presume the whole creation's day In Christo erga homines conciliatus amor.
To change in scenes, and show it in a play Hæc qui speraret quis crederet esse futurum?
Pardon me, mighty poet, nor despise Et tamen hæc hodiè terra Britanna legit.
My causeless, yet not impious surmise: O quantos in bella duces! quæ protulit arma!
But I am now convinced; and none will dare Quæ canit, et quantâ prælia dira tuba!
Within thy labours to pretend a share. Cælestes acies! atque in certamine cælum!
Thou hast not missed one thought that could be fit, Et quæ cælestes pugna deceret agros!
And all that was improper dost omit: Quantus in æthereis tollit se Lucifer armis!
So that no room is here for writers left,
But to detect their ignorance or theft.
That majesty, which through thy work doth
reign, Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent,
Draws the devout, deterring the profane: Et non mortali desuper igne pluunt:
And things divine thou treat'st of in such state Stat dubius cui se parti concedat Olympus,
As them preserves, and thee, inviolate.
At once delight and horror on us seize,
Thou sing’st with so much gravity and ease; Et currus animes, armáque digna Deo,
And above human flight dost soar aloft Horrendúmque rotæ strident, et sæva rotarum
With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft: Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,
The bird, named from that Paradise you sing, Et flammæ vibrant, et vera tonitrua ranco
So never flags, but always keeps on wing. Admistis flammis insonuere polo:
Where could'st thou words of such a compass Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis,
find? Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt;
Whence furnish such a vast expense of mind ? Ad pænas fugiunt; et, ceu foret Orcus asylum,
Just Heaven thee, like Tiresias, to requite, Infernis certant condere se tenebris.
Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight. Cedite, Romani Scriptores; cedite, Graii;
Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure Et quos fama recens vel celebravit anus.
With tinkling rhyme, of thy own sense secure; Hæc quicunque leget tantùm cecinisse putabit
While the Town-Bays writes all the while and Mæonidem ranas, Virgilium culices.
Their fancies like our bushy points appear;
The poets tag them, we for fashion wear.
I too, transported by the mode, offend, When I beheld the Poet blind, yet bold, And, while I meant to praise thee, must comIn slender book his vast design unfold,
BY ANDREW MARVELL.
Thy verse created, like thy theme, sublime,
DR. JOHNSON'S PROLOGUE
MASK OF COMUS.
FROM AN ACCOUNT OF
EPIGRAM ON MILTON.
Acted at the Drury-Lane Theatre, April 5, 1750
for the benefit of Milton's grand-daughter.
Ye patriot crowds, who burn for England's fame, Three Poets, in three distant ages born,
Ye nymphs, whose bosoms beat at Milton's name, Greece, Italy, and England, did adorn:
Whose generous zeal, unbought by flattering The first in loftiness of thought surpassed;
rhymes, The next, in inajesty; in both the last.
Shames the mean pensions of Augustan times; The force of Nature could no farther go:
Immortal patrons of succeeding days,
Attend this prelude of perpetual praise !
With close malevolence, or public rage;
Behold this Theatre, and grieve no more.
This night, distinguished by your smiles, shall tell, BY ADDISON.
That never Britain can in vain excel;
The slighted arts futurity shall trust, Bot Milton next, with high and haughty stalks, And rising ages hasten to be just. Unsetter'd, in majestic numbers, walks:
At length our mighty Bard's victorious lays No vulgar hero can his Muse engage,
Fill the loud voice of universal praise; Nor earth's wide scene confine his hallow'd rage. And baffled Spite, with hopeless anguish dumb, See! see! he upward springs, and, towering high, Yields to renown the centuries to come; Spurns the dull province of mortality;
With ardent haste each candidate of fame, Shakes Heaven's eternal throne with dire alarms, Ambitious, catches at his towering name: And sets th' Almighty Thunderer in arms!
He sees, and pitying sees, vain wealth bestow Whate'er his pen describes I more than see,
Those pageant honours which he scorned below, Whilst every verse array'd in majesty,
While crowds aloft the laureat bust behold, Bold and sublime, my whole attention draws,
Or trace his form on circulating gold. And seems above the critic's nicer laws.
Unknown,—unheeded, long his offspring lay, How are you struck with terror and delight,
And want hung threatening o'er her slow decay. When angel with archangel copes in fight!
What though she shine with no Miltonian fire, When great Messiah's outspread banner shines, No favouring Muse her morning-dreams inspire; How does the chariot rattle in his lines!
Yet softer claims the melting heart engage, What sound of brazen wheels, with thunder, scare Her youth laborious, and her blameless age; And stun the reader with the din of war!
Hers the mild merits of domestic life, With fear my spirits and my blood retire,
The patient sufferer, and the faithful wife. To see the seraphs sunk in clouds of fire:
Thus graced with humble Virtue's native charms, But when, with eager steps, from hence I rise,
Her grandsire leaves her in Britannia's arms; And view the first gay scene of Paradise; Secure with peace, with competence, to dwell, What tongue, what words of rapture, can express While tutelary nations guard her cell. A vision so profuse of pleasantness!
Yours is the charge, ye fair, ye wise, ye brave! 'Tis yours to crown desert—beyond the grave.
ADDRESS TO GREAT BRITAIN.
FROM THOMSON'S SUMMER.
GRAY'S PROGRESS OF POESY.
Nor second he that rode sublime
He pass’d the flaming bounds of place and time: Of classic ages in thy Milton met ?
The living throne, the sapphire blaze, A genius universal as his theme;
Where angels tremble while they gaze, Astonishing as chaos; as the bloom
He saw; but, blasted with excess of light, Of blowing Eden fair; as Heaven sublime! Closed his eyes in endless night.
When God in Eden, o'er her youthful breast
Spread with his own right hand Perfection's gorCOLLINS'S ODE ON THE POETICAL
DR. ROBERTS' EPISTLE ON THE Strange shades o'erbrow the vallies deep,
ADDRESSED TO CHRISTOPHER ANSTEY, ESQ. While on its rich ambitious head
Poet of other times! to thee I bow
With lowliest reverence. Oft thou tak'st my
To that empyreal mansion, where thine ear
The gates of Heaven, and to thy mental sight On which that ancient trump he reached was
Display'd celestial scenes. She from thy lyre hung;
With indignation tore the tinkling bells,
And turn'd it to sublimest argument.
-Such bliss to one alone
COWPER'S TABLE TALK. And Heaven and Fancy,
kindred powers, Have now o'erturn'd th' inspiring bowers,
Ages elaps'd ere Homer's lamp appear'd, Or curtain'd close such scene from every future
And ages ere the Mantuan swan was heard: view.
To carry Nature lengths unknown before,
Ennobling every region that he chose;
And tedious years of gothic darkness passid, Rise, hallow'd Milton! rise, and say,
Emerg'd all splendour in our isle at last. How, at thy gloomy close of day;
Thus lovely halcyons dive into the main, How, when depress'd by age, beset with wrongs;'
Then show far off their shining plumes again. When 'fall’n on evil days and evil tongues :'
When Darkness, brooding on thy sight,
Gives Him his praise, and forfeits not her own.
Friends in the friends of science, and true prayer Were still thine own: thy ample mind Has flow'd from lips wet with Castalian dews.
Each charm receiv'd, retain'd, combin'd. Such was thy wisdom, Newton, child-like sage And thence the nightly visitant that came Sagacious reader of the works of God, To touch thy bosom with her sacred flame, And in his word sagacious. Such too, thine, Recallid the long-lost beams of grace;
Milton, whose genius had angelic wings, That whilom shot from Nature's face,
And fed on manna.
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
Before all temples the upright heart and pure, This first book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject, Instruct me, for thou knowest; Thou from the first man's disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise where. Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread, in he was placed: then touches the prime cause of his fall, the Dove-like, sat'st brooding on the vast abyss, srpent, or rather Satan in the serpent; who, revolting from God and drawing to his side many legions of Angels, was, by And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark the command of God, driven out of Heaven, with all his crew, Ilumine; what is low raise and support; into the great deep. Which action passed over, the poem That to the height of this great argument hasens into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his I may assert eternal Providence, angels now fallen into Hell, described here, not in the centre, And justify the ways of God to men. (for heaven and earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed,) but in a place of utter darkness, fit
Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view, liest called Chaos. Here Satan, with his angels, lying on the Nor the deep tract of Hell; say first, what cause burning lake, thunderstruck and astonished, after a certain Moved our grand parents, in that happy state, space recovers
, as from confusion, calls up him who next in Favoured of Heaven so highly, to fall off order and dignity lay by him: they confer of their miserable From their Creator, and transgress his will fall. Saran awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the sene manner confounded. They rise ; their numbers; array For one restraint, lords of the world besides? of battle; their chief leaders named, according to the idols Who first seduced them to that foul revolt? known afterwards in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To Th’infernal serpent; he it was, whose guile these Satan directs his speech, comforts them with hope yet Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceived of regaining heaven; but tells them lastly of a new world and The mother of mankind, what time his pride a new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy or report in heaven; for that angels were long before Had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host this visible creation, was the opinion of many ancient fathers. Of rebel angels; by whose aid aspiring To find out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determine To set himself in glory above his peers, thereon, he refers to a full council
. What his associates He trusted to have equall'd the Most High thence attempe . Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, rises
, If he opposed; and, with ambitious aim suddenly built out of the deep: the infernal peers there sit in council.
Against the throne and monarchy of God,
Raised impious war in Heav'n, and battle prou, Op man's first disobedience, and the fruit With vain attempt. Him the almighty power Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky, Brought death into the world, and all our wo, With hideous ruin and combustion, down With loss of Eden, till one greater Man To bottomless perdition, there to dwell Restore us, and regain the blissful seat, In adamantine chains and penal fire, Sing, heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top Who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms. Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
Nine times the space that measures day and night That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed, To mortal men, he with his horrid crew In the beginning how the Heav'ns and Earth Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf, Rose out of Chaos: or if Sion hill
Confounded, though immortal: but his doom Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook, that flowed Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
Both of lost happiness, and lasting pain, Invoke thy aid to my advent'rous song, Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes, That with no middle flight intends to soar That witnessed huge affliction and dismay, Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate:
At once, as far as angels ken, he views
Doubted his empire; that were low indeed, The dismal situation waste and wild;
That were an ignominy, and shame beneath A dungeon horrible on all sides round,
This downfall; since, by fate, the strength of gods As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames And this empyreal substance can not fail; No light, but rather darkness visible
Since, through experience of this great event, Served only to discover sights of wo,
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced, Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace We may with more successful hope resolve And rest can never dwell, hope never comes To wage, by force or guile, eternal war, That comes to all; but torture without end Irreconcileable to our grand foe, Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
Who now triumphs, and, in th' excess of joy With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed; Sole reigning, holds the tyranny of Heaven.” Such place eternal Justice had prepared
So spake th' apostate angel, though in pain, For those rebellious; here their prison ordained Vaunting aloud, but racked with deep despair: In utter darkness, and their portion set
And him thus answered soon his bold compeer. As far removed from God and light of heav'n, “O prince, O chief of many throned powers, As from the centre thrice to th' utmost pole. That led th' embattled seraphim to war O how unlike the place from whence they fell ! Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful deeds There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelmed Fearless, endangered Heav'n's perpetual King, With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire, And put to proof his high supremacy, He soon discerns; and welt’ring by his side Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate; One next himself in power, and next in crime, Too well I see and rue the dire event, Long after known in Palestine, and named That with sad overthrow and foul defeat Beelzebub. To whom th' arch enemy,
Hath lost us Heaven, and all this mighty host And thence in Heav'n called Satan, with bold words In horrible destruction laid thus low, Breaking the horrid silence thus began.
As far as the gods and heavenly essences “If thou beest he; but O how fall’n! how Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains changed
Invincible, and vigour soon returns, From him, who, in the happy realms of light, Though all our glory, extinct, and happy state Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst out- Here swallowed up in endless misery. shine
But what if he our Conqueror (whom I now Myriads though bright! If he whom mutual league, Of force believe almighty, since no less United thoughts and counsels, equal hope Than such could have o'erpowered such force as And hazard in the glorious enterprise,
ours) Joined with me once, now misery hath joined Have left us in this our spirit and strength entire In equal ruin! into what pit thou seest, Strongly to suffer and support our pains, From what height fall’n; so much the stronger That we may so suffice his vengeful ire, proved
Or do him mightier service as his thralls He with his thunder: and till then who knew By right of war, whate'er his business be, The force of those dire arms? yet not for those, Here in the heart of hell to work in fire, Nor what the potent victor in his rage
Or do his errands in the gloomy deep; Can else inflict, do I repent or change,
What can it then avail, though yet we feel Though changed in outward lustre, that fixed Strength undiminished, or eternal being, mind,
To undergo eternal punishment ?"
To do aught good never will be our task,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil; And courage never to subunit or yield,
Which ofttimes may succeed, so as perhaps And what is else not to be overcome;
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb That glory never shall his wrath or might His inmost counsels from their destined aim. Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace But see! the angry victor hath recalled With suppliant knee, and deify his power, His ministers of vengeance and pursuit Who from the terror of this arm so late
Back to the gates of Heaven: the sulphurous hail,