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God: then the grand lyric verse will beings, and a history of the world ; at
act and feel in conformity with their But the age of metaphysical inspira.. superhuman nature. Shakspeare would tion, long_gone by, had 'not yet reap- scarcely have been equal to the task; peared. Far in the past Dante was Milton, the logician and reasoner, failed fading away; far in the future Goethe in it. He gives us correct solemn disay unrevealed. People saw not yet course, and gives us nothing more ; his ihe pantheistic Faust, and that incom-characters are speeches, and in their prehensible nature which absorbs all sentiments we find only heaps of puer.
puer! varying existence in her deep bosom ; ilities and contradictions. they saw no longer the mystic paradise Adam and Eve, the first pair! I a
ap and immortal Love, whose ideal light proach, and it seems as though I disenvelopes souls redeemed. Protes- covered the Adam and Eve of Raphael tantism had neither altered nor renewed Sanzio, imitated by Milton, so his biog. the divine nature; the guardian of an raphers tell us, glorious, strong volup, accepted creed and ancient tradition, tuous children, naked in the light of it had only transformed ecclesiastical heaven, motionless and absorbed be. discipline and the doctrine of grace. It fore grand landscapes, with bright had only called the Christian to per vacant eyes, with no more thought sonal salvation and freedom from priest- than the bull or the horse on the grass ly rule. It had only remodelled man, beside them. I listen, and I hear an t had not recreated the Deity. It English household, two reasoners of could not produce a divine epic, but a the period-Colonel Hutchinson and human epic. It could not sing the his wife. Good Heavens | dress thom battles and works of God, but the temp- at once. People with so much culture
w the time of Christ came the poems of of trousers and modesty. What dia cosmogony; at the time of Milton, the logues ! Dissertations capped by polite confessions of psychology: At the ness, mutual sermons concluded by time of Christ each imagination pro bows. What bows ! Philosophical com duced a hierarchy of supernatural pliments and moral smiles." I yielded *ώ δίoς αιθήρ και ταχύπτεροι πνοαι ποταμών τε πηγαί, ποντίων τε κυμάτων
“ And from that time see ανήριθμον γέλασμα, παμμητόρ τε γη, και τον πανόπτην κύκλον ηλίου καλώ,
How beauty is excell'd by manly grace ιδεσθέ μ', οία προς θεών πάσχω θεός.
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.". Prometheus Vinctus, ed. Hermann, p. 487, jne 88.-IR.
Ps. XC. 5.
• Paradise Lost, book iv. h 489
Labour and resta che
Dear learned poet, you would have Reason as chief ; among these Fancy next
Her office holds ; of all external things
Which the five watchful senses represent,
Which Reason, joining or disjoining, framan
Our knowledge or opinion.
Oft in her absence mimic fancy wakes your own household:
To imitate her ; but, misjoining shapes,
Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams.
Ill matching words and deeds long past of
to sleep again. Her husband noting the
effect, adds like an accredited casuist : Smiled with superiour love, • . and press'd
"" Yet be not sad:
Evil into the mind of God or man
May, come and go, so unapproved ; and
“ Go with speed,
And, what thy stores contain, bring forth, nobly a greater number of pithless
Abundance, fit to honour and receive
Our heavenly stranger. I
She, like a good housewife, talks about
as day and night, to men kitchen-garden, says:
Beholding shall confess, that here on earth
God hath dispensed his bounties as in hea.
“ with dispatchful
looks, in haste":
“ What choice to choose for delicacy best; A very useful and excellent Puritanical What order, so contrived as not to mix exhortation ! This is English virtue
Tastes, not well join'd, inelegant; but bring
Taste after taste upheld with kindliest
scatters flowers and leaves under the
table. What an excellent housewife 1
Perfections : in himself was all his state,
More solemn than the tedious pomp that waita
On princes, when their rich retinue long
Of horses led, and grooms besmeared with
gold, • Paradise Lost, book iv. l. 492-502.
Dazzles the crowd." I # Ibid. l. 610-622.
It would be impossible that a man so * Paradise Lost, book v. l. 100-113. learned, so argumentative, should spend his t Ibid. l. 116-119.
1 lbid. l. 313-316. whole time in gardening and making up nose- § Ibid. l. 328-330. I thich l 333-336 Trays.
Ibid. 1. 351-357
The epic is changed into a political
• His forbidding poem, and we have just heard an epi- Commends thee more, while it infers the good gram against power. The preliminary For good unknown sure is not had ; or, had
Ry thee communicated, and our want : ceremonies are somewhat long; for. And yet unknown, is as not had at all." tunately, the dishes being uncooked, Such prohibitions bind not." ** “no fear lest dinner cool." The angel, Eve is from Oxford too, has also learn though ethereal, cats like a Lincoln- ed law in the inns about the Temple shire farmer :
and wears, like her husband, the doc “ Nor seemingly
tor's trencher-cap. The angel, nòr in mist, the common gloss The flow of dissertations never ceas Of theologians; but with keen dispatch Of real hunger, and concoctive heat
es; from Paradise it gets into heaven' To transubstantiate : what redounds, tran- neither heaven nor earth, nor hell it. spires
self, would swamp it. Through spirits with ease.”
Of all characters which man could At table Eve listens to the angel's bring upon the scene, God is the finest. stories, then discreetly rises at dessert, The cosmogonies of peoples are subwhen they are getting into politics. lime poems, and the artists' genius English ladies may learn by her ex- does not attain perfection until it is ample to perceive from their lord's sustained by such conceptions. The faces when they are entering on Hindoo sacred poems, the Biblical studious thoughts abstruse.” The sex prophecies, the Edda, the Olympus of does not mount so high. A wise lady Hesiod and Homer, the visions of prefers her husband's talk to that of Dante, are glowing flowers from which strangers. “Her husband the relater a whole civilization blooms, and every she prefered.” Now Adam hears a emotion vanishes before the terrible little treatise on astronomy. He con- feeling through which they have leapt cludes, like a practical Englishman : from the bottom of our heart. Nothing “ But to know
then can be more depressing than the That which before us lies in daily life, degradation of these noble ideas, set. Is the prime wisdom: what is more, is fume, tling into the regularity of formulas, Or emptiness, or fond impertinence; And renders us, in things that most concern,
and under the discipline of a popular Unpractised, unprepared, and still to seek.” † worship. What is smaller than a god
sunk to the level of a king and a man? The angel gone, Eve, dissatisfied with what more repulsive than the Hebrew her garden, wishes to have it improved, Jehovah, defined by theological pedanand proposes to her husband to work in it, she on one side, he on the other. try, governed in his actions by the last
manual of doctrine, petrified by literal He says, with an approving smile:
interpretation ? “ Nothing lovelier can be found Milton's Jehovah is a grave king, In woman. than to study household good, who maintains a suitable state, someAnd good works in her husband to promote.”+ thing like Charles I. . When we meet But he fears for her, and would keep him for the first time, in Book III., he her at his side. She rebels with a is holding council, and setting forth a little prick of proud vanity, like a matter of business. From the style young lady who mayn't go out by her- we see his grand furred cloak, his self.
She has her way, goes alone pointed Vandyke beard, his velvetand eats the apple. Here interminable covered throne and golden dais. The speeches come down on the reader, as business concerns a law which does numerous and cold as winter showers. not act well, and respecting which he The speeches of Parliament after desires to justify his rule. Adam is Pride's Purge were hardly heavier. about to eat the apple : why have exThe serpent seduces Eve by a collec- posed Adam to the temptation? The tion of arguments worthy of the punc- royal orator discusses the question, and tilious Chillingworth, and then the shows the reason ; syllogistic mist enters her poor brain :
“ I made him just and righus * Paradise Lost, book v. 1. 434- 39. Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall. t Ibid, book viii. 1. 192-197. i Ibid, book ix. l. aza.
• Ibid. l. 733-760
Such I created all the ethereal powers
Moreover, like a good politician, he who fail'd. Not free, what proof could they have given angels, “For state, as Sovran King sincere
and to inure our prompt obedience." Of true allegiance, constant faith, or love? The word out; we see what Milton's Where only, what they needs must do, ap heaven is : a Whitehall filled with be
pear'd, Not what they would : what praise could they dizened footmen. The angels are the receive?
choristers, whose business is to sing What pleasure I from such obedience paid ? cantatas about the king and before When will and reason (reason also is choice); Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd,
the king, keeping their places as long Made passive both, had served necessity, as they obey, alternating all night long Not me. They therefore, as to right belong'd, to sing "melodious hymns about the 30 were created, nor can justly accuse
sovran throne.” What a life for this Their Maker, or their making, or their fate , As if predestination over-ruled
poor king! and what a cruel condition Their will, disposed by absolute decree to hear eternally his own praises ! * Tc Or high foreknowledge : they themselves de- amuse himself, Milton's Deity decides
creed Their own revolt, not 1: if I foreknew,
to crown his son king-partner-king, Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault, if you prefer it. Read the passage, and Which had no less proved certain unfore“ say if it be not a ceremony of his time known.
that the poet describes : So without least impulse or shadow of fate, Ar aught by me immutably foreseen,
“ Ten thousand thousand ensigns high adThey trespass, authors to themselves in all,
vanced, Both what they judge and what they choose."* Standards and gonfalons 'twixt van and rear
Stream in the air, and for distinction serve The modern reader is not so patient Of hierarchies, of orders, and degrees ; as the Thrones, Seraphim, and Domi- Or in their glittering tissues bear imblazed nations; this is why I stop halfway in
Holy memorials, acts of zeal and love
Recorded eminent;' " the royal speech. We perceive that Milton's Jehovah is connected with the doubtless the capture of a Dutch ves. theologian James I., versed in the sel, the defeat of the Spaniards in the arguments of Arminians and Gomarists, Downs. The king brings forward his very clever at the distinguo, and, be- son, “anoints ” him, declares him “his fore all, incomparably tedious. He great vicegerent: must pay his councillors of state very
“ To him shall bow well if he wishes them to listen to such All knees in heaven. Him who disobeys, tirades. His son answers him respect
Me disobeys ;” 1 fully in the same style. Goethe's God, and such were, in fact, expelled from half abstraction, half legend, source of heaven the same day. “All seem'd calm oracles, a vision just beheld after well pleased; all seem'd, but were not a pyramid of ecstatic strophes,t greatly all." " Yet excels this Miltonic God, a business “That day, as other solemn days, they spent man, a schoolmaster, an ostentatious
In song and dance about the sacred hill.. man! I honor him too much in giving Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they him these titles. He deserves a worse
Desirous." $ name, when he sends Raphael to warn Adam that Satan intends him some Milton describes the tables, the dishes, mischief:
the wine, the vessels. It is a popular “ This let him know,
festival ; I miss the fireworks, the bell. Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend ringing, as in London, and I can fancy
Surprisal, unadmonish'd, unforewarn'd.” 1 that all would drink to the health a This Miltonic Deity is only a school. * We are reminded of the history of Ira in master, who, foreseeing the fault of Voltaire, condemned to hear without intermis his pupil, tells him beforehand the sion or end the praises of four chamber das
and the following hymn : grammar rule, so as to have the pleas
“ Que son mérite est extrême! are of scolding him without discussion.
Que de graces, que de grandeu. * Paradise Lost, book iii. l. 98-123.
Ah! combien monseigneur † End of the continuation of Pomst. Pro
Doit être content de lui-mêmel" longue in Heaven.
Paradise Lost, book v. l. 588-594. 1 Paradise Last, book v. L 143.
i Ibid. l. 607612. I Toid. 6 boylige
the new king. Then Satan revolts ; | these the things which "eye hath no he takes his troops to the other end of seen, nor ear heard, nor hath entered the country, like Lambert or Monk, into the heart to conceive?". What a toward “the quarters of the north, gap between this monarchical frippery Scotland perhaps, passing through and the visions of Dante, the souls we'l-governed districts, "empires,” Aoating like stars amid the harmonies, wit i their sheriffs and lord-lieutenants. the mingled splendors, the mystic roses Heaven is partitioned off like a good radiating and vanishing in the azure, map. Satan holds forth before his the impalpable world in which all the vfficers against royalty, opposes in a laws of earthly life are dissolved, the word-combat the good royalist Abdiel, unfathomable abyss traversed by fleetwho refutes his “blasphemous, false, ing visions like golden bees gliding in and proud” arguments, and quits him the rays of the deep central sun! Is to rejoin his prince at Oxford. Well it not a sign of extinguished imaginaarmed, the rebel marches with his tion, of the inroad of prose, of the birth pikemen and artillery to attack the of practical genius, replacing metaphysfortress.* The two parties slash each ics by morality? What a fall! Ío other with the sword, mow each other measure it, read a true Christian poem down with cannon, knock each other the Apocalypse. I copy half-a-dozen down with political arguments. These verses; think what it has become in sorry angels have their mind as well the hands of the imitator : disciplined as their limbs; they have
“And I turned to see the voice that spako passed their youth in a class of logic with me. And being turned, I saw seven and in a drill school. Satan holds golden candlesticks ; furth like a preacher:
“ And in the midst of the seven candlesticks,
one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a " What heaven's Lord had powerfulest to send garment down to the foot, and girt about the
Against us from about his throne, and judged paps with a golden girdle,
His head and his hairs were white like
“ And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they
burned in a furnace; and his voice as the He also talks like a drill-sergeant. sound of many waters. “ Vanguard, to right and left the front “ And he had in his right hand seven stars : unfold.” He makes quips as clumsy sword: and his countenance was as the sun
and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged as those of Harrison, the former butch- shineth in his strength. er turned officer. What a heaven ! “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as It is enough to disgust a man with dead." + Paradise ; any one would rather enter When Milton was arranging his Charles I.'s troop of lackeys, or Crom- celestial show, he did not fall as dead. well's Ironsides. We have orders of But if the innate and inveterate habits the day, a hierarchy, exact submission, of logical argument, joined with the extra duties, disputes, regulated cere literal theology of the time, prevented monials, prostrations, etiquette, fur- him from attaining to lyrical illusion or bished arms, arsenals, depots of char. from creating living souls, the spleniots and ammunition. Was it worth dor of his grand imagination, combined while leaving earth to find in heaven with the passions of Puritanism, fu:: carriage-works, buildings, artillery, a nished him with an heroic character, marual of tactics, the art of salutations, several sublime hymns, and scenery and the Almanac de Gotha ? Are which no one has surpassed. The
* The Miltonic Deity is so much on the level finest thing, in connection with this of a king and man, that he uses (with irony Paradise is hell ; and in this history of certainly) words like these :
“ Lest unawares we lose * When Raphael comes on earth, the angels This our high place, our Sanctuary, our Hill." who are “under watch,” “in honour rise. His son, about to finsh his maiden sword, re
The disagreeable and characteristic feature of plies:
this heaven is, that the universal motive is obe
dience, while in Dante's it is love. “ If I be found the worst in heaven," etc.
reverent they bow. . . . Our happy state we Book v. 731-742.
hold, like yours, while our obedience holda." • Paradise Lost, hook vi. l. 425-430.
+ Rev. i 13.