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ses to the poet's father—they are an affecting acknowledgment of the benefits he had derived from that exemplary parent.
TO MY FATHER.
—— Thou hatedst not the gentle Muse,
I speak not now, on more important themes
To sum the whole, whate'er the heav'n contains,
Go now and gather dross, ye sordid minds,
Apollo's to his son, had they been safe,
I therefore, although last and least, my place
But thou! my Father, since to render thanks
age e !"
The boy, the world's vice-luminary.-In mythology it is related that Apollo, or the Sun, permitted his son Phaeton to drive the celestial coursers, which, according to the fable, bear the sun round the earth, and that the unpractised charioteer would have set the world on fire had he not been precipitated into the river Po.
Lethœan gulf. — Those who tasted the waters of Lethe forgot
Milton's minor pieces were written before he was thirty : the Paradise Lost was published when he had attained the age of sixty years. Comus, L'Allegro, and Penseroso, are delightful, but Paradise Lost has a power and elevation in it, a variety, and sublimity of excellence, which have given to Milton that rank as a sacred poet which belongs to him only. But his fame was not awarded to him while he lived his place in society was humble, and he was never distinguished during his life but by a few of his more discerning contemporaries.
"He stood alone," says Mr. Campbell, "and aloof above his times, the bard of immortal subjects, and, as far as there is perpetuity in language, of immortal fame. The very choice of those subjects bespoke a contempt of any species of excellence that was attainable by other men. There is something that overawes the mind in conceiving his long deliberated selection of that themehis attempting it when his eyes were shut upon the face of nature - his dependence, we might almost say, on supernatural inspiration, and in the calm air of strength with which he opens Paradise Lost, beginning a mighty performance without the appearance of an effort. Taking the subject all in all, his powers could no where else have enjoyed the same scope. It was only from the height of his great argument that he could look back upon eternity past, and forward upon eternity to come, that he could survey the abyss of infernal darkness, open visions of Paradise, or ascend to heaven and breathe empyreal air."
The subject of Paradise Lost, is taken from that portion of the Hebrew Scriptures which relates to our first parents. poses, what many Christians admit to be true in theology, that God placed the first human pair in a happy condition, and promised that they and all their posterity should remain for ever in that happy state, provided they would obey God; but that, if they would disobey the divine commands, they should be punished. They disobeyed God, were driven out of Paradise, and they and all their descendants were, thenceforth, made liable to sin, sorrow, and death.
Satan, a malignant spirit, tempted the first woman to break the prohibition of God, she tempted her husband, and both, in consequence of their weakness, were driven out from Eden, their primitive dwelling-place, and destined to "labour and sorrow" in some other region. The only alleviation which their expulsion from Paradise admitted, was the promise of God, that “ greater man" than Adam should restore his descendants to the moral image of God, which they had forfeited, and likewise reconcile them to God's government and will.
one SENTENCE PRONOUNCED ON ADAM AND EVE.
In the XIth Book of the Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve, after they had broken the divine command, are represented as lament. ing their offence, when Michael, a spirit sent from God, descends to them, and commands them to leave their native Paradise. Pero ceiving his approach, Adam to Eve
“ thus spake :
He ended; and the Archangel soon drew nigh,
Adam, heaven's high behest no preface needs :
And send thee from the garden forth to till
He added not, for Adam at the news
Discover'd soon the place of her retire." A military vest, &c.—This magnificent attire of the archangel is compared with that of Asiatic kings, who in ancient times endeavoured in their warfare to astonish their enemies by their splendour, as well as to overcome them by their military prowess.
Iris had dipt the woof.—The woof of any texture is composed of the transverse threads which interlace the threads that form the warp of the woven substance. Iris is the goddess of the rainbow, which exhibits all the prismatic colours, and consequently the most pure and vivid hues in nature.
THE DEPARTURE FROM PARADISE.
The archangel fulfils the commission with which God had intrusted him with peculiar tenderness to our first parents. They are not driven without gracious preparation into an untried condition of existence. Michael“ ascends in the vision of God" with Adam, and foreshows to him the degeneracy and misery of his posterity, but to console him for these tremendous prospects, he reveals to him " salvation by Jesus Christ"—the reformation of a " perverted world," and the commencement of a kingdom,
“ Founded in righteousness and peace and love,
To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss." Thus enlightened and encouraged, Adam submissively replies to his celestial visitant
Greatly instructed I shall hence depart,