Page images
PDF
EPUB

And guard all passage to the tree of life:
Lest Paradise a receptacle prove
To spirits foul, and all my trees their prey,
With whose stol'n fruit Man once more to delude. 125

He ceas’d; and th' archangelic pow'r prepar'd
For swift descent, with him the cohort bright
Of watchful Cherubim ; four faces each
Had, like a double Janus, all their shape
Spangled with eyes, more numerous than those
Of Argus, and more wakeful than to drowse,
Charm’d with Arcadian pipe, the past’ral reed
Of Hermes, or his opiate rod. Mean while
To resalute the world with sacred light

130

[ocr errors]

son.

128. --four faces each &c.) and their hands, and their wings, Among the poetical parts of were full of eyes round about: Scripture, which Milton has the poet expresses it by a definely wrought into this part of lightful metaphor, all their shape his narration, I must not omit spangled with eyes, and then adds that wherein Ezekiel, speaking by way of comparison, more nuof the angels who appeared to merous than those of Argus, a him in vision, adds, that every shepherd who had an hundred one had four faces, and that their eyes, and more wakeful than to whole bodies, and their backs, und drowse, as his did, charmed with their hands, and their wings, were Arcadian pipe, the pastoral reed, full of eyes round about. Addi- that is, the pastoral pipe made of

reeds, as was that of Hermes or Ezekiel says, that every one had Mercury, who was employed by four faces, x. 14. The poet adds, Jupiter to lull Argus asleep and four faces each had, like a double kill him, or his opiate rod, the Janus; Janus was a king in caduceus of Mercury, with which Italy, and is represented with he could give sleep to whomtwo faces, to denote his great soever he pleased. With this wisdom, looking upon things pipe and this rod he lulled Arpast and to come; and the men gus asleep, and cut off his head. tion of a well known image with It is an allusion to a celebrated two faces may help to give us story in Ovid, Met. i. 625, &c. the better idea of others with four. Ezekiel says, x. 12. And

Centum luminibus cinctum caput their whole body, and their backs,

Argus habebat &c.

135

Leucothea wak’d, and with fresh dews imbalm'd
The earth, when Adam and first matron Eve

135. Leucothea wak’d] The

and with him feed the shades of White Goddess, as the name in

night. Greek imports, the same with Seven days after that he was Matuta in Latin, as Cicero says, coasting round the earth, but Lucothea nominata a Græcis, always in the shade of night, Matuta habetur a nostris. Tusc. ix. 62. i. 12. Quæ Lucothea a Græcis, a nobis Matuta dicitur. De Nat.

thence full of anguish driven,

The space of sev'n continued nights Deor. iii. 19. And Matuta is

he rode the early morning that ushers With darkness.in the Aurora rosy with the sun-beams, according to Lucre- But we have no farther account tius, v. 655.

of any of these days excepting

the first, which begins at the Tempore item certo roseam Matuita beginning of book v.

per oras Ætheris Auroram defert, et lumina

Now morn her rosy steps in th' eastpandit.

ern clime And from Matuta is derived Ma

Advancing &c. tutinus, early in the morning. Eve there relates her dream to This is the last morning in the Adam; they go to work. Rapoem, the morning of the fatal phael is ordered to go, and conday, wherein our first parents verse with Adam half this day as were expelled out of Paradise. friend with friend, v. 229. He It is impossible to say, how comes to Paradise at midnoon, much time is taken up in the ver. 311. and 300. action of this poem, since a great

--while now the mounted sun part of it lies beyond the sphere

Shot down direct his fervid rays to of day; and for that part which lies within the sphere of day, it Earth's inmost womb. is not easy to state and define

He and Adam converse together, the time exactly, since our au

which discourse is related at thor himself seems not to have been very exact in this particu

large in the remainder of book lar. Satan came to earth about the evening parts them, viii.

v. and book vi, vii, and visi. till noon, when the full-blazing sun

630. şat high in his meridian tower, iv. 30. The evening of that

But I can now no more; the parting first day is described iv. 598.

Beyond the earth's green Cape and Now came still evening on &c.

verdant Isles

Hesperian sets, my signal to depart. That night Satan tempts Eve in her dream, is discovered close This is the first of the seven at her ear, and flies out of Para- days, during which Satan was dise, iv. 1015.

compassing the earth. On the

warm

sun

Had ended now their orisons, and found
Strength added from above, new hope to spring

one

eighth he returned, ix. 67. at In his return to Hell he meets midnight, ver. 58. and took Sin and Death in the morning, possession of the serpent wait ver. 329. ing close the approach of morn, --while the sun in Aries rose. ver. 191. Morning is described, ver. 192.

After Sin and Death had arrived

in Paradise, the angels are comNow when as sacred light began to

manded to make several alterdawn &c.

ations in the heavens and ele. Eve is prevailed upon to eat of ments: and Adam is represented the forbidden fruit a little be

as lamenting aloud to himself, fore noon, ix. 739.

ver. 846. Mean while the hour of noon drew

Through the still night, not now, as on, and wak'd

ere Man fell, An eager appetite

Wholesome and cool, and mild, but Adam eats likewise; they sleep,

with black air

Accompanied, with damps and dreadthey wake; and Adam re

ful gloom. proaches Eve with her desire of wandering this unhappy morn, ix. 'Adam is afterwards made to talk 1136. In the cool of the even

somewhat confusedly, in ing the Messiah comes down to place as if it was still the day judge them, x. 92.

of the fall, ver. 962. Now was the sun in western cadence Since this day's death denounc'd, if low

ought I see, From noon, and gentle airs due at Will prove no sudden, but a slow. their hour

pac'd evil. To fan the earth now wak'd, and usher in

And in another place as if it The evening cool; when he from

was some day after the fall, wrath more cool

ver. 1048. Came ihe mild Judge and Intercessor both

-we expected To sentence Man.

Immediate dissolution, which

thought Satan fled from his presence, but Was meant by death that day, &c. returned by night, ver. 341.

And having felt the cold damps -return'd

of the night before, he is conBy night, and listning where the sidering how they may provide hapless pair

themselves with some better Sat in their sad discourse, and various plaint,

warmth and fire before another Thence gaiher'd his own doom, which night comes, ver. 1069.

understood Not instant, but of future time, with

-ere this diurnal star joy

Leave cold the night. And tidings fraught, to Hell he now return'd.

That other night we must now

[ocr errors]

140

Out of despair, joy, but with fear yet link'd;
Which thus to Eve his welcome words renew'd.

Eve, easily may faith admil, that all
The good which we enjoy, from heav'n descends ;
But that from us ought should ascend to heaven
So prevalent as to concern the mind
Of God high-blest, or to incline his will,
Hard to belief may seem ; yet this will prayer
Or one short sigh of human breath, upborne
Ev'n to the seat of God. For since I sought
By pray’r th' offended Deity to’ appease ;
Kneeld and before him humbled all my heart,

145

150

suppose to be past, since the morning here appears again

which bids us seek Some better shroud, some better

warmth to cherish
Our limbs benumn'd, ere this di.

urnal star
Leave cold the night.

To resalute the world with sacred

light:

our

So that according to the best But indeed the author is not calculation we can make, this very exact in the computation is the eleventh day of the poem, of time, and perhaps he affected we mean of that part of it some obscurity in this particuwhich was transacted within lar, and did not choose to de. the sphere of day. Mr. Ad- fine, as the Scripture itself has dison reckons only ten days to not defined, how soon after the the action of the poem, that is, fall it was that our first parents he supposes that first

pa

were driven out of Paradise. rents were expelled out of Para 150. Kneelid and before him dise the very next day after the humbled all my heart,]

« Such fall; and indeed at first sight it " is the force of the word kneeled appears so: but then we cannot

“ in that situation, that we acsee with what propriety several “tually see Adam upon his things are said, which we have “ knees before the offended here quoted: and particularly Deity; and by the conclusion of the sun's rising in Aries, “ of this paragraph, Bending when Satan met Sin and Death his ear, infinite goodness is at the brink of Chaos; and if it “ visibly as it were represented was still the night after the fall, “to our eyes as inclining to how could Adam say, as he is

“ hearken to the prayers of his represented saying,

“penitent creature." See Let

155

160

Methought I saw him placable and mild,
Bending his ear; persuasion in me grew
That I was heard with favour; peace return'd
Home to my breast, and to my memory
His promise, that thy seed shall bruise our foe;
Which then not minded in dismay, yet now
Assures me that the bitterness of death
Is past, and we shall live. Whence hail to thee,
Eve rightly call’d, mother of all mankind,
Mother of all things living, since by thee
Man is to live, and all things live for Man.

To whom thus Eve with sad demeanour meek.
Ill worthy I such title should belong
To me transgressor, who for thee ordain’d
A help, became thy snare; to me reproach
Rather belongs, distrust and all dispraise :
But infinite in pardon was my Judge,
That I who first brought death on all, am grac'd
The source of life; next favourable thou,
Who highly thus to' entitle me vouchsaf'st,
Far other name deserving. But the field

165

170

[ocr errors]

ters concerning poetical transla- she was taken out of Ish, Man, tio &c. p. 58, 59.

Gen. ii. 23. 157. Assures me that the bitter

-Woman is her name, of Man ness of death

Extracted Is past,]

as it is expressed, viii. 496. But 1 Sam. xv. 32. And Agag said, now he denominates her Eve or Surely the bitterness of death is Havah, from a Hebrew word past.

which signifies to live, in firm 159. Eve rightly called, mother belief that God would make her of all mankind,] Gen. iii. 20. the mother of all mankind, and And Adam called his wife's name of the promised Seed particuEve, because she was the mother larly. Our poet had called her of all living. He called her Eve before by way of antici. before Ishah, Woman, because pation.

« PreviousContinue »