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son observes, such sentiments are given as suit the most exalted and most depraved being. Milton has been censured, by Clark, for the impiety which sometimes breaks from Satan's mouth. For there are thoughts, as he justly remarks, which no observation of character can justify, because no good man would willingly permit them to pass, however transiently, through his own mind. To make Satan speak as a rebel, without any such expressions as might taint the reader's imagination, was indeed one of the great difficulties in Milton's undertaking, and I cannot but think that he has extricated himself with great happiness. There is in Satan's speeches little that can give pain to a pious ear. The lan
guage of rebellion cannot be the same with that of obedience. The malignity of Satan foams in haughtiness and obstinacy; but his expressions are commonly general, and no otherwise offenfive than as they are wicked.
The other chiefs of the celestial rebellion are very judiciously discriminated in the first and second books; and the ferocious character of Moloch appears, both in the battle and the council, with exact consistency. Min
To Adam and to Eve are given, during their innocence, such sentiments as innocence can generate and utter. Their love is pure benevolence and mutual veneration; their repafts are without luxury, and their diligence without
toil. Their addresses to their Maker have little more than the voice of admiration and gratitude. Fruition left them nothing to ask, and Innocence left them nothing to fear.
But with guilt enter distrust and discord, mutual accusation, and stubborn felf-defence; they regard each other with alienated minds, and dread their Creator as the avenger of their transgression. At last they seek shelter in his mercy, soften to repentance, and melt in supplication. Both before and after the Fall, the superiority of Adam is diligently sustained.
Of the probable and the marvellous, two parts of a vulgar epick poem, which immerge the critick in deep confidera
tion, the Paradise Lost requires little to be said. It contains the history of a miracle, of Creation and Redemption; it displays the power and the mercy of the Supreme Being; the probable therefore is marvellous, and the marvellous is probable. The substance of the narrative is truth; and as truth allows no choice, it is, like necessity, fuperior to sule. To the accidental or adventitious parts, as to every thing human, fome flight exceptions may be made. But the main fabrick is immovably supported.
It is justly remarked by Addison, that this poem has, by the nature of its subject, the advantage above all others, that it is universally and perpetually in
teresting. All mankind will, through all ages, bear the same relation to Adam and to Eve, and must partake of that good and evil which extend to themselves.
Of the machinery, so called from ©:05 OTO Marxxvñs, by which is meant the cocafional interposition of supernatural power, another fertile topick of critical remarks, here is no room to speak, because every thing is done under the im. mediate and visible direction of Heaven; but the rule is so far observed, that no part of the action could have been accomplished by any other means.
Of episodes, I think there are only two, contained in Raphael's relation of the war in heaven, and Michael's pro