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Two other precious drops that ready stood,
Each in their chrystal sluice, he e'er they fell
Kiss'd, as the gracious Signs of sweet remorse
And pious awe, that fear'd to have offended.

The Morning Hymn is written in Imitation of one of those Psalms, where, in the Overflowings of Grati tude and Praise, the Psalmist calls not only upon the Angels, but upon the most conspicuous Parts of the inanimate Creation, to joyn with him in extolling their Common Maker, Invocations of this Nature fill the Mind with glorious Ideas of God's Works, and awaken that divine Enthusiasm, which is so natural to Devotion, But if this Calling upon the dead Parts of Nature, is at all Times a proper Kind of Worship it was in a particular Manner suitable to our first Parents, who had the Creation fresh upon their Minds, and had not seen the various Dispensations of Providence, nor consequently could be acquainted with those many Topicks of Praise which might afford Matter to the Devotions of their Posterity, I need not remark the beautiful Spirit of Poetry, which runs through this whole Hymn, nor the Holiness of that Resolution with which it concludes,


Having already mentioned those Speeches which are assigned to the Persons in this Poem, I proceed to the Description which the Poet gives of Raphael. His Departure from before the Throne, and his Flight thro' the Choirs of Angels, is finely imaged, Milton every where fills his Poem with Circumstances that are marvellous and astonishing, he describes the Gate of Heaven as framed after such a Manner, that it open'd of it self upon the Approach of the Angel who was to pass through it.

-'till at the gate

Of Heav'n arriv'd, the gate self-open'd wide,
On golden Hinges turning, as by work

Divine the Sovereign Architect had framed,

The Poet here seems to have regarded two or three Passages in the 18th Iliad, as that in particular, where, speaking of Vulcan, Homer says, that he had made twenty Tripodes running on Golden Wheels, which,


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No. 327. upon Occasion, might go of themselves to the Assembly Saturday, of the Gods, and, when there was no more Use for March 15, them, return again after the same Manner. Scaliger


has rallied Homer very severely upon this Point, as M. Dacier has endeavoured to defend it. I will not pretend to determine, whether in this Particular of Homer, the Marvellous does not lose Sight of the Probable, As the miraculous Workmanship of Milton's Gates is not so extraordinary as this of the Tripodes, so I am perswaded he would not have mentioned it, had not he been supported in it by a Passage in the Scripture, which speaks of Wheels in Heaven that had Life in them, and moved of themselves, or stood still, in Conformity with the Cherubims, whom they accompanied,

There is no Question but Milton had this Circumstance in his Thoughts, because in the following Book he describes the Chariot of the Messiah with living Wheels, according to the Plan in Ezekiel's Vision.

-Forth rush'd with whirlwind sound

The Chariot of Paternal Deity,

Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel undrawn,
It self instinct with Spirit-

I question not but Bossu, and the two Daciers, who are for vindicating every Thing that is censured in Homer, by something parallel in Holy Writ, would have been very well pleased had they thought of con fronting Vulcan's Tripodes with Ezekiel's Wheels.

Raphael's Descent to the Earth, with the Figure of his Person, is represented in very lively Colours, Several of the French, Italian, and English Poets have given a Loose to their Imaginations in the Description of Angels: But I do not remember to have met with any so finely drawn, and so conformable to the Notions which are given of them in Scripture, as this in Milton. After having set him forth in all his heavenly_Plumage, and represented him as alighting upon the Earth, the Poet concludes his Description with a Circumstance, which is altogether new, and imagined with the greatest Strength of Fancy,


Like Maia's Son he stood

And shook his plumes, that Heav'nly fragrance fill'd
The Circuit wide-

No. 327.
March 15,

Raphael's Reception by the Guardian Angels; 1712. his passing through the Wilderness of Sweets; his distant Appearance to Adam, have all the Graces that Poetry is capable of bestowing. The Author after wards gives us a particular Description of Eve in her Domestick Employments.

So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste
She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent,
What choice to chuse for delicacy best,
What order, so contriv'd as not to mix
Tastes, not well joyn'd inelegant, but bring
Taste after taste, upheld with kindliest change;
Bestirs her then, &c,

Though in this, and other Parts of the same Book, the Subject is only the Housewifry of our First Parent, it is set off with so many pleasing Images and strong Expressions, as make it none of the least agreeable Parts in this Divine Work,

The natural Majesty of Adam, and at the same Time his submissive Behaviour to the superior Being, who had vouchsafed to be his Guest; the solemn Hail which the Angel bestows upon the Mother of Mankind, with the Figure of Eve ministring at the Table, are Circumstances which deserve to be admired,

Raphael's Behaviour is every Way suitable to the Dignity of his Nature, and to that Character of a sociable Spirit, with which the Author has so judiciously intro duced him. He had received Instructions to converse with Adam, as one Friend converses with another, and to warn him of the Enemy, who was contriving his Destruction: Accordingly he is represented as sitting down at Table with Adam, and eating of the Fruits of Paradise. The Occasion naturally leads him to his Discourse on the Food of Angels. After having thus entered into Conversation with Man upon more indif ferent Subjects, he warns him of his Obedience, and makes a natural Transition to the History of that fallen Angel, who was employed in the Circumvention of our first Parents,


No, 327.

Had I followed Monsieur Bossu's Method, in my Saturday, first Paper on Milton, I should have dated the Action March 15, of Paradise Lost from the Beginning of Raphael's


Speech in this Book, as he supposes the Action of the Æneid to begin in the second Book of that Poem, I could allege many Reasons for my drawing the Action of the Eneid rather from its immediate Beginning in the first Book, than from its remote Beginning in the second, and shew why I have considered the sacking of Troy as an Episode, according to the common Acceptation of that Word. But as this would be a dry unentertaining Piece of Criticism, and perhaps unnecessary to those who have read my first Paper, I shall not enlarge upon it. Whichever of the Notions be true, the Unity of Milton's Action is preserved according to either of them; whether we consider the Fall of Man in its immediate Beginning, or proceeding from the Resolutions taken in the infernal Council, or in its more remote Beginning, or proceeding from the first Revolt of the Angels in Heaven. The Occasion which Milton assigns for this Revolt, as it is founded on Hints in Holy Writ, and on the Opinion of some great Writers, so it was the most proper that the Poet could have made use of

The Revolt in Heaven is described with great Force of Imagination and a fine Variety of Circumstances, The learned Reader cannot but be pleased with the Poet's Imitation of Homer in the last of the following Lines,

At length into the limits of the North

They came, and Satan took his Royal Seat
High on a Hill, far blazing, as a Mount

Rais'd on a Mount, with Pyramids and Tow'rs

From Diamond Quarries hewn, and Rocks of Gold,
The Palace of great Lucifer, (so call

That Structure in the Dialect of Men

Homer mentions Persons and Things, which he tells
us in the Language of the Gods are call'd by different
Names from those they go by in the Language of Men.
Milton has imitated him with his usual Judgment in this


particular Place, wherein he has likewise the Authority No. 327. of Scripture to justify him. The Part of Abdiel, who Saturday, March 15, was the only Spirit that in this infinite Host of Angels 1712. preserved his Allegiance to his Maker, exhibits to us a noble Moral of religious Singularity, The Zeal of the Seraphim breaks forth in a becoming Warmth of Senti ments and Expressions, as the Character which is given us of him denotes that generous Scorn and Intrepidity which attends heroick Virtue. The Author doubtless de signed it as a Pattern to those who live among Mankind in their present State of Degeneracy and Corruption, So spake the Seraph Abdiel faithful found, Among the faithless, faithful only he; Among innumerable false, unmov'd, Unshaken, unseduc'd, unterrify'd;

His Loyalty he kept, his Love, hís Zeal;

Nor Number, nor Example with him wrought

To swerve from Truth, or change his constant mind
Though single, From amidst them forth he pass'd,
Long Way through hostile Scorn, which he sustain'd
Superior, nor of Violence fear'd ought;
And with retorted Scorn his Back he turn'd

On those proud Tow'rs to swift Destruction doom'd.

No. 328.


Monday, March 17.

Nullum a labore me reclinat otium.—Hor.


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