Page images



Of this new glorious world, and me so late
The glory of that glory, who now become
Accurs’d of blessed, hide me from the face
Of God, whom to behold was then my highth
Of happiness ! yet well, if here would end
The misery ; I deserv'd it, and would bear
My own deservings; but this will not serve;
All that I eat or drink, or shall beget,
Is propagated curse. O voice once heard
Delightfully, Increase and multiply,
Now death to hear! for what can I increase
Or multiply, but curses on my head ?
Who of all ages to succeed, but feeling
The evil on him brought by me, will curse
My head? Ill fare our ancestor impure,
For this we may thank Adam ; but his thanks
Shall be the execration; so besides
Mine own that bide upon me, all from me
Shall with a fierce reflux on me redound,
On me as on their natural centre light




728. All that I eat or drink, and catching at trifles, quirks, or shall beget,

jingles, and other such prettiIs propagated curse.]

He censures him, as Meat and drink propagate it by Mr. Addison had done before, prolonging life, and children by for using such low phrases, as, carrying it on to posterity. For this we may thank Adan; 740. On me as on their natural and then for soaring so high centre light

inter nubes et inania; refluxes Heavy, though in their place,] and natural centres ; heuvy, though Dr. Bentley has really made in their place. Adam, it seems, some very just objections to was already a Peripatetic in his several lines here together. He notions; he supposes here, that finds fault with Adam's not elementary bodies do not grakeeping up a due decorum, and vitate in their natural places ; in that heavy seriousness and not air in air, not water in anxiety leaving his true topics, water: from which he fetches


Heavy, though in their place. O fleeting joys
Of Paradise, dear bought with lasting woes !
Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me Man, did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me, or here place
In this delicious garden? as my will
Concurr'd not to my be’ing, it were but right
And equal to reduce me to my dust,
Desirous to resign and render back
All I receiv’d, unable to perform
Thy terms too hard, by which I was to hold
The good I sought not. To the loss of that,
Sufficient penalty, why hast thou added
The sense of endless woes ? inexplicable
Thy justice seems; yet to say truth, too late
I thus contest; then should have been refus'd
Those terms whatever, when they were propos’d:
Thou didst accept them: wilt thou' enjoy the good,
Then cavil the conditions ? and though God




a pretty lamentation. That con- of the poem, and especially into trary to the course of nature, so fine a speech as this before his afflictions will weigh heavy us, and all that we can say on him, though they be in their them is, proper place. Is not he sorely afflicted (says the Doctor) that Aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus. talks at this rate? And yet the worst of it is, this notion is 758. Thou didst &c.] The false, and long since exploded change of persons, sometimes by the modern philosophy: speaking of himself in the first water weighs in water, as much and sometimes to himself in the as it does out of it. And there- second, is very remarkable in fore the Doctor is for lopping this speech, as well as the off with a bold hand ten lines change of passions. And in together: and we heartily wish like manner he speaks someindeed that no such passages times of God and sometimes to had been admitted into any part God.


Made thee without thy leave, what if thy son

760 Prove disobedient, and reprov’d, retort, Wherefore didst thou beget me? I sought it not: Wouldst thou admit for his contempt of thee That proud excuse ? yet him not thy election, But natural necessity begot.

765 God made thee' of choice his own, and of his own To serve him ; thy reward was of his grace, Thy punishment then justly' is at his will. Be' it so, for I submit; his doom is fair, That dust I am, and shall to dust return :

770 O welcome hour whenever ! why delays His hand to execute what his decree Fix'd on this day? why do I overlive, Why am I mock'd with death, and lengthen'd out To deathless pain? how gladly would I meet 775 Mortality my sentence, and be earth Insensible, how glad would lay me down As in my mother's lap? there I should rest And sleep secure; his dreadful voice no more Would thunder in my ears, no fear of worse To me and to my offspring would torment me With cruel expectation. Yet one doubt Pursues me still, lest all I cannot die,


773. Fix'd on this day?] For but Milton is not always very God had said, In the day that exact in marking the time; he thou eatest thereof, thou shalt neglects those little things for surely die, Gen. ii. 17. But it greater beauties. may be questioned whether it

783. -lest all I cannot die,] was now this day; for the night A like expression in Horace. of this day is mentioned before Od. iii. xxx, 6. in ver. 342. and the sun's rising is taken notice of in ver. 329.

Non omnis moriar.


Lest that pure breath of life, the spi'rit of Man
Which God inspir'd, cannot together perish 785
With this corporeal clod; then in the grave,
Or in some other dismal place, who knows
But I shall die a living death? O thought
Horrid, if true! yet why? it was but breath
Of life that sinn'd; what dies but what had life

And sin ? the body properly hath neither.
All of me then shall die: let this appease
The doubt, since human reach no further knows.
For though the Lord of all be infinite,
Is his wrath also ? be it, Man is not so,

795 But mortal doom'd. How can he exercise Wrath without end on man whom death must end? Can he make deathless death? that were to make Strange contradiction which to God himself Impossible is held, as argument


784. —that pure breath of prove to himself that the breath life, the spirit of Mun

of life (the spirit of Man whick Which God inspir’d,]

God inspired into him, ver. 784.) For the Lord God formed man was to die with his body; and of the dust of the ground, and his argument here and in what breathed into his nostrils the breath follows runs thus. Nothing but of life, and man becume a living breath of life sinned; nothing, soul, Gen. ii. 7. And a heathen but what had life and sin, dies; poet calls it divinæ particulam the body properly has neither of aurie: Hor. Sat. ji, ij. 79. and a these, and therefore he conmost memorable passage it is, cludes that the breath of life and deserves to be quoted at (or spirit of man within him) length.

was to die; and that all of him -Corpus onustum

was to die, because the body he Hesternis vitiis animum quoque knew was mortal. Pearce. prægravat una,

800. Impossible is held, us Atque affigit humno divinæ particu

argument lam aura.

Of weakness, not of pow'r.] 789. -It was but breath This is the doctrine of the Of life that sinn'd;]

Schoolmen : but as it is here Adam is here endeavouring to spoken in the person of Adam,

Of weakness, not of pow'r. Will he draw out,
For anger's sake, finite to infinite
In punish's Man, to satisfy his rigour
Satisfied never? that were to extend
His sentence beyond dust and nature's law,
By which all causes else according still
To the reception of their matter act,
Not to th' extent of their own sphere. But say


we must suppose that it was their own power. An allusion held likewise by the angels, of to another axiom of the schools: whom he might have learned it Omne efficiens agit secundum in discourse.

vires recipientis, non suas. But 804. -that were to extend this is not so bad as what Mr. His sentence beyond dust and Pope has objected to our author,

nature's law,] Dr. Bentley proposes to read,

Milton's strong pinion now not heav'n

can bound, beyond just and nature's law;

Now serpent-like, in prose he sweeps but dust is the true reading. the ground; Part of the sentence pronounced In quibbles angel and archangel upon Adam, x. 208. was this,


And God the Father turns a SchoolFor dust thou art; and shalt to dust

divine. return. Hence Adam here argues, that But it should be considered, that for God to punish him after this sort of divinity was much death would be to extend the more in fashion in Milton's sentence beyond dust, beyond days; and no wonder that he what he thought implied in was a little ostentatious of shewthe words, thou shalt to dusting his reading in this, as well return. See also ver. 748, 1085. as in all other branches of learnwhere Adam speaks of being ing. And for his creeping in reduced to dust, as the final end prose, which Mr. Dryden has of him. Pearce.

likewise objected to our author 804. It may be added, that in the preface to his Juvenal, dust is that recipient, beyond the are satisfied that he is capacity of which even infinite thought to do so the more only rigour cannot act; according to because of his writing in blank v. 806, 807. See the next note. verse: and if those two poets

themselves (excellent as they 806. By which ull causes else are) were stripped and divested &c] All other agents act in of their rhyme, it would appear proportion to the reception or in several places of their works, capacity of the subject matter, that they have little else to supand not to the utmost extent of port them.



« PreviousContinue »