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Yo. 315.] Saturday, March 1, 1711-12. man) with great energy of cxpression, and in Nec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindic nodus
a clearer and stronger light ihan I ever met laciderit
Hor. Are Poet. v. 191. with in any other writer. As these points are
dry in themselves to the generality of readers, Never presume to make u gol appear But for a business worthy of a god.- Roscommon.
the concise and clear manner in which he has
treated them is very much to be admired, as is Horace advises a poet to consider thorough- likewise that particular art which he has made ly the nature and force of his genius. Milton use of in the interspersing of all those graces seems to have known perfectly well wherein of poetry which the subject was capable of re his strength lay, and has therefore chosen a ceiving. subject entirely conformable to those talents The survey of the whole creation, and of of which he was master. As his genius was every thing that is transacted in it, is a proswonderfully turned to the sublime, his subject pect worthy of Omniscience, and as much is the noblest that could have entered into the above that in which Virgil bas drawn his Juthoughts of man. Every thing that is truly piter, as the Christian idea of the Supreme Be. great and astonishing has a place in it. The ing is more rational and sublime than that whole system of the intellectual world; the of the Heathens. The particular objects on chaos, and the creation : heaven, earth, and which he is described to have cast his eye, hell; enter into the constitution of his poem., are represented in the most beautiful and live
Having in the first and second books re- ly manner : presented the infernal world with all its hor
Now had th' Almighty Father from above rors, the thread of his fable naturally leads
(From the pure empyrean where he sits him into the opposite regions of bliss and High thron'd above all height) bent down bis eye, glory.
His own works and their works at once to view. Il Milton's majesty forsakes him any where,
About him all the sanctities of heaven
Stood thick as stars, and from his sight receiv'd it is in those parts of his poem where the di- Beatitude part utterance. On his right vine persons are introduced as speakers. One The radiant imnge of his glory sal, may, I think, observe, that the author proceeds
His only Eon. On earth he first beheld
Our two first parents, yet the only two with a kind of fear and trembling, whilst he
Of mankind, in the happy garden plac'd describes the sentiments of the Almighty. He Reaping iniinortal fruits of joy and love, dares not give his imagination its full play, but Uninterrupted joy, unrivall'd love, chooses to confine himself to such thoughts as
la blissful solitude. He then survey'd
Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there are drawn from the books of the most ortho
Coasting the wall of heav'n on this side vight, dox divines, and to such expressions as may In the dun air sublime; and ready now be met with in scripture. The beauties, there- To stoop with wearied wings and willing feet fore, which we are to look for in these speeches,
On the bare outside of this world, that seem'd
Firm land inbosom'd without firmament; are not of a poetical nature, nor so proper to
Uncertain which, in ocean or in air. fill the mind with sentiments of graodeur, as Him God beholding from his prospect high, with thoughts of devotion. The passions which Wherein past, present, future he belolds,
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake. they are designed to raise, are a divine love and religious fear. The particular beauty of Satan's approach to the confines of the creathe speeches in the third book, consists in that tion is finely imaged in the beginning of the shortness and perspicuity of style, in which speech which immediately follows. The efthe poet has couched the greatest mysteries of fects of this speech in the blessed spirits, and Christianity, and drawn together, in a regular in the divine person to whom it was addressed, scheme, the whole dispensation of Providence cannot but fill the mind of the reader with a with respect to man. He has represented all secret pleasure and complacency: the abstruse doctrines of predestination, freewill and grace, as also the great points of in
Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance filia carnation and redemption, (which naturally
All heav'n, and in the blessed spirits elect
Sense of new joy ineffable diffus'd. grow up in a poem that treats of the fall of Beyond compare the Son of God was yeep Vol. II.
Dost glorious; in him all his Father shone,
they were the gods who thus transformed them. Substantially express'd; and in his face
It is this kind of machinery which fills the Divine compassiou visibly appoard, Love without end, and without measure grace.
poems both of Homer and Virgil with such
circumstances as are wonderful but not imI need not point out the beauty of that possible, and so frequently produce in the reacircumstance, wherein the whole host of angels der the most pleasing passion that can rise in are represented as standing mute; nor show the mind of man, which is admiration, If how proper the occasion was to produce such there be any instance in the Æneid liable to a silence in heaven. The close of this divine exception upon this account, it is in the begincolloquy, with the hymn of angels that follows ning of the third book, where Æneas is repreupon it, are so wonderfully beautiful and po- sented as tearing up the myrtle that dropped etical, that I should not forbear inserting the blood. To qualify this wonderful circumstance, whole passage, if the bounds of my paper would Polydorus tells a story from the root of the give me leave:
myrtle, that the barbarous inhabitants of the No sooner had th’ Almighty ceas'd, bat all
country having pierced him with spears and The multitude of angels with a shout
arrows, the wood which was left in his body (Loud as from numbers without puinber, sweet took root in his wounds, and gave birth to As froin blest voices) utt'ring joy, beav'n rung that bleeding tree. This circumstance seems With jubilee, and loud Hosannas fill'd
to have the marvellous without the probable Th' eternal regions, &c. &c.
because it is represented as proceeding from Satan's walk upon the outside of the uni- natural causes, without the interposition of verse, which at a distance appeared to him of any god, or other supernatural power capable a globular form, but upon his nearer approach of producing it. The spears and arrows grow looked like an unbounded plain, is natural and of themselves without so much as the modern noble; as his roaming upon the frontiers of help of enchantment. If we look into the ficthe creation, between that mass of matter tion of Milton's fable, though we find it full of which was wrought into a world, and that surprising incidents, they are generally suited shapeless unformed heap of materials which to our notions of the things and persons destill lay in chaos and confusion, strikes the scribed, and tempered with a due measure of imagination with something astonishingly great probability. I must only make an exception to and wild. I have before spoken of the Limbo the Limbo of vanity, with his episode of Sin and of Vanity, which the poet places upon this Death, and some of the imaginary persons in outermost surface of the universe, and shall his chaos. These passages are astonishing, but here explain myself more at large on that, and not credible; the reader cannot so far impose other parts of the poem, which are of the same upon himself as to see a possibility in them; shadowy nature.
theyare the description of dreams and shadows Aristotle observes, that the fable of an epic not of things or persons. I know that many cripoem should abound in circumstances that tics look upon the stories of Circe, Polypheme, are both credible and astonishing; or, as the the Sirens, nay the whole Odyssey and Iliad, French critics choose to phrase it, the fable to be allegories; but allowing this to be true, should be filled with the probable and the they are tables, which, considering the opimarvellous.
This rule is as fine and just as nions of mankind that prevailed in the age of any in Aristotle's whole Art of Poetry. the poet, might possibly have been according
ir the fable is only probable, it differs nothing to the letter. The persons are such as might from a true history; if it is only marvellous, have acted what is ascribed to thein, as the it is no better than a romance. The great circumstances in which they are represented secret, therefore, of heroic poetry is to relate might possibly have been truths and realities. such circumstances as may produce in the rea. This appearance of probability is so absolutely der at the same time both belief and astonish- requisite in the greater kinds of poetry, that ment. This is brought to pass in a well chosen Aristotle observes the ancient tragic writers fable, by the account of such things as have made use of the names of such great men as really happened, or at least of such things as had actually lived in the world, though the have happened according to the received opi- tragedy proceeded upon adventures they were pions of mankind. Milton's fable is a master- never engaged in, on purpose to make the subpiece of this nature; as the war in heaven, the ject more credible. In a word, besides the condition of the fallen angels, the state of in-hidden meaning of an epic allegory, the plain nocence, the temptation of the serpent, and literal sense ought to appear probable. The the fall of man, though they are very astonish- story should be such as an ordinary leader ing in themselves, are not only credible, but may acquiesce in, whatever natural, moral, or actual points of faith.
political truth may be discovered in it by men The next method of reconciling miracles of greater penetration. with credibility, is by a happy invention of the Satan, after having long wandered upon the poet; as in particular, when he introduces surface or outermost wall of the universe, dis. agents of a superior nature, who are capable covers at last a wide gap in it, which led into of effecting what is wonderful, and what is not the creation, and is described as the opening to be met with in the ordinary course of things. through which the angels pass to and fro into Ulysses's ship being turned into a rock, and the lower world, upon their crrands to manÆneas's fleet into a shoal of water nymphs, kind. His sitting upon the brink of this pasthough they are very surprising accidents, are sage, and taking a survey of the whole face of nevertheless probable when we are told, that nature, that appeared to him new and fresh in all its beauties, with the simile illustrating plaints, this may have reason to hope for a this circumstance, fills the mind of the reader tavourable acceptance; and if time be the with as surprising and glorious an idea as any most irretrievable loss, the regrets which folthat arises in the whole poem. He looks down low will be thought, I hope, the most justifiainto that vast hollow of the universe with the ble. The regaining of my liberty from a long eye, or (as Milton calls it in his first book) state of indolence and inactivity, and the desire with the ken of an angel. He surveys all the of resisting the farther incroachments of idle wonders in this immense amphitheatre thatness, make ine apply to you; and the uneasilie between both the poles of heaven, and ness with which I recollect the past years, and takes in at one view the whole round of the the apprehensions with which I expect the fucreation.
ture, soon determined me to it. Idleness is His flight between the several worlds that so general a distemper, that I cannot but imashined on every side of him, with the particular gine a speculation on this subject will be of description of the sun, are set forth in all the universal use. There is hardly any one person wantonness of a luxuriant imagination. His without some allay of it; and thousands beshape, speech, and behaviour upon his trans- sides myself spend more time in ao idle uncerforming himself into an angel of light, are tainty which to begin first of two affairs, than touched with exquisite beauty. The poet's would have been sufficient to bave ended them thought of directing Satan to the Sun, which, both. The occasion of this seems to be the in the vulgar opinion of mankind, is the most want of some necessary employment, to put conspicuous part of the creation, and the plac- the spirits in motion, and awaken them out of ing in it an angel, is a circumstašce very finely their lethargy. If I had less leisure, I should contrived, and the more adjusted to a poetical have more; for I should then find my time probability, as it was a received doctrine among distinguished into portions, some for business, the most famous philosophers, that every orb and others for the indulging of pleasures; had its intelligence; and as an apostle in sa. but now one face of indolence overspreads the cred writ is said to have seen such an angel in whole, and I have no land-mark to direct mythe sun. In the answer which this angel re
Were one's time a little straitened turns to the disguised evil spirit, there is such by business, like water enclosed in its banks, a becoming majesty as is altogether suitable it would have sue determined course ; but to a superior being. The part of it in which unless it be put into some channel it has no he represents himself as present at the creation, current but becomes a deluge without either is very noble in itself, and not only proper use or motion. where it is introduced, but requisite to prepare
• When Scanderbėg, Prince of Epirus, was the reader for what follows in the seventh dead, the Turks, who had but too often felt book:
the force of his arm in the battles he had won I saw when at his word the formless mass,
from them, imagined that by wearing a piece This world's material mould, came to a heap: of his bones near their heart, they should be Cenfusion heard his voice, and wild Uproar animated with a vigour and force like to that Stood ruld, stood vast infinitude confin'd; Till at his second bidding Darkness Aed,
which inspired him when living. As I am like Light shone, &c.
to be but of little use whilst i live, I am reout the earth with such circumstances, that disposed of in this manner for the good of my In the following part of the speech he points solved to do what good I can after my decease;
and have accordingly ordered my bones to be the reader can scarce forbear fancying himself employed on the same distant view of it:
countrymen, who are troubled with too exor
bitant a degree of fire. All fox-hunters, upon Look downward on that globe, whose hither side With light from hence, though but reflected, shines;
wearing me, would in a short time be brought That place is earth, the seat of man, that light
to endure their beds in a morning, and perhaps His day, &c.
even quit them with regret at ten. Instead I must not conclude my reflections upon this of hurrying away to tease a poor animal, and third book of Paradise Lost, without taking run away from their own thoughts, a chair or notice of that celebrated complaint of Milton a chariot would be thought the most desirable with which it opens, and which certainly de- means of performing a remove from one place serves all the praises that have been given it; to another. I should be a cure for the undathough, as I have before hinted, it may rather tural desire of John Trott for dancing, and a be looked upon as an excrescence than as an specific to lessen the inclination Mrs. Fidget essential part of the poem. The same obser- has to motion, and cause her always to give vation might be applied to that beautiful di- her approbation to the present place she is in. gression upon hiypocrisy in the same book. L. In fine, no Egyptian mummy was ever half so
useful in physic, as I should be to these feverish No. 316.] Monday, March 3, 1711-12.
constitutions, to repress the violent sallies of
youth, and give each action its proper weight Libertas; quse sera, tamen respexit inertem.
Virg. Ecl. 1. 29.
'I can stifle any violent inclination, and opFreedom, which came at length, though slow to come. pose a torrent of anger, or the solicitations of
Dryden. revenge, with success. Indolence is a strearn MR. SPECTATOR,
wbich flows slowly on, but yet undermines the
ffoundation of every virtue. A vice of a more 'If you ever read a letter which is sent with lively nature were a more desirable tyrant than the more pleasure for the reality of its con- this rust of the mind, which gives a tincture
of ifs nature to every action of one's life. It since the good will not be confined to me alone, were as little hazard to be lost in a storm, as but will be of universal use. For there is no to lie thus perpetually becalmed: and it is to hope of amendment where men are pleased no purpose to have within one the seeds of a with their ruin, and whilst they think laziness thousand good qualities, if we want the vigour is a desirable character; whether it be that and resolution necessary for the exerting them. they like the state itself, or that they think it Death brings all persons back to an equality; gives them a new lustre when they do exert and this image of it, this slumber of the mind, themselves, seemingly to be able to do that leaves no difference between the greatest ge- without labour and application, which others nius and the meanest understanding. A faculty attain to but with the greatest diligence. of doing things remarkably praise-worthy, thus
I am, Sir, concealed, is of no more use to the owner, than Your most obliged humble servant, a heap of gold to the man who dares not use it.
SAMUEL SLACK." • To-morrow is still the fatal time when all is to be rectified. To-morrow comes, it goes,
Clylander to Cleone. and still I please myself with the shadow, whilst I lose the reality : unmindful that the Permission to love you is all that I desire, present time alone is ours, the future is yet to conquer all the difficulties those about you unborn, and the past is dead, and can only live place in my way, to surmount and acquire all (as parents in their children) in the actions it those qualifications you expect in him who has produced.
pretends to the honour of being, *The time we live ought not to be computed
Madam, by the number of years, but by the use that Your most devoted humble servant, has vecn made of it; thus, it is not the extent z.
*CLYTANDER.' of ground, but the yearly rent, which gives the value, to the estate. Wretched and thought
No. 317.] less creatures, in the only place where covet
Tuesday, March 4, 1711-12. ousness were a virtue, we turn prodigals! No- -Fruges consumere nati. Hor. Ep. ü. Lib. 1. 97. thing lies upon our hands with such uneasiness,
-Born to drink and eat. nor have there been so many devices for any one thing, as to make it slide away impercep- AUGUSTUS, a few minutes before his death, tibly and to no purpose. A shilling shall be asked his friends who stood about him, if they hoarded up with care, whilst that which is thought he bad acted his part well; and upon above the price of an estate is flung away with receiving such an answer as was due to his disregard and contempt. There is nothing extraordinary merit, “Let me then,' says he now-a-days, so much avoided, as a solicitous' go off the stage with your applause;' using improvement of every part of time; it is a re- the expression with which the Roman actors port must be shunned as one tenders the name made their exit at the conclusion of a draof a wit and a fine genius, and as one fears the inatic piece.* I could wish that men, while dreadful character of a laborious plodder : but they are in health, would consider well the notwithstanding this, the greatest wits any nature of the part they are engaged in, and age has produced thought far otherwise ; for what figure it will make in the minds of those who can think either Socrates or Demosthenes they leave behind them, whether it was worth lost any reputation, by their continual pains coming into the world for; whether it be suitboth in overcoming the defects and improving able to a reasonable being: in short, whether the gifts of nature ? All are acquainted with it apears graceful in this life, or will turn to the labour and assiduity with which Tully ac. an advantage in the next. Let the sycophant, quired his eloquence. Seneca in his letters to or the buffoon, the satirist or the good comLucilius assures him, there was not a day in panion consider with himself, when his body which he did not either write something, or shall be laid in the grave, and his soul pass read and epitomize some good author; and I into another state , of existence, how much it remember Pliny in one of his letters, where he will redound to his praise to have it said of gives an account of the various methods he him, that no man in England ate better, that used to fill up every vacancy of time, after he had an admirable talent at turning his several employments which he enumerates ; friends into ridicule, that nobody out-did him “Sometimes," says he, “I hunt: but even at an ill-natured jest, or that he never went then I carry with me a pocket-book, that to bed before he bad despatched his third whilst my servants are busied in disposing of bottle. These are, however, very common futhe nets and other matters, I may be employed neral orations, and eulogiums on deceased perin something that may be useful to me in my sons who have acted among mankind with studies ; and that if I miss of my game, I may some figure and reputation. at the least bring home some of my own But if we look into the bulk of our species, thoughts with me, and not have the mortifi- they are such as are not likely to be remem. cation of having caught nothing all day." bered a moment after their disappearance,
• Thus, sir, you see, how many examples 1 They leave behind them no traces of their recall to mind, and what arguments I use with existence, but are forgotten as though they myself, to regain my liberty: but as I am afraid bad never been. They are neither wanted by it is no ordinary persuasion that will be of ser- the poor, regretted by the rich, nor celebrated vice, I shall expect your thoughts on this subject with the greatest impatience, especially
* Vos valete et plaudite.
by the learned. They are neither missed in news. A dish of twist. Grand vizier strapthe common-wealth, nor lamented by private gled. persons. Their actions are of no significancy From six to ten. At the club. Mr. Nisby's to mankind, and might have been performed account of the great Turk. by creatures of much less dignity than those Ten. Dream of the grand vizier. Broken who are distinguised by the faculty of reason. sleep. An eminent French authoş speaks somewhere to the following purpose : I have often seen
WEDNESDAY, eight o'clock. Tongue of my from my chamber window two noble creatures, shoe-buckle broke. Hands but not face. both of them of an erect countenance and
Nine. Paid off the butcher's bill. Mem. endowed with reason. These two intellectual to be allowed for the last leg of mutton. beings are employed from morning to night
Ten, eleven. At the Cofiee-house. More in rubbing two smooth stones one upon ano- work in the north. Stranger in a black wig ther; that is, as the vulgar phrase is, in po- asked me how stocks went. Jishing marble.
From twelve to one. Walked in the fields.
Wind to the south. My friend, Sir Andrew Freeport, as we were
From one to two. sitting in the club last night, gave us an ac
Smoked a pipe and a
half. count of a sober citizen, who died a few days since. This honest man being of greater con
Two. Dined as usual. Stomach good. sequence in his own thoughts than in the eye
Three. Nap broke by the falling of a of the world, had for some years past kept a pewter dish. Mem. cook-maid in love, and journal of his life.. Sir Andrew showed us one grown careless. week of it. Since the occurrences set down
From four to six. At the coffee-house. io it mark out such a road of action as that Advice from Smyrna that the grand vizier I have been speaking of, I shall present my was first of all strangled, and afterwards be
headed. reader with a faithful copy of it; after having first informed him, that the deceased persons hour in the club before any body else came.
Six o'clock in the evening. Was half an had in his youth been bred to trade, but find. ing himself not so well turned for business, Mr. Nisby of opinion that the grand vizier he had for several years last past lived altoge
was not strangled the sixth instant. ther upon a moderate annuity."
Ten at night. Went to bed. Slept with
out waking until nine the next inorning. MONDAY, eight o'clock. I put on my clothes, and walked into the parlour.
THURSDAY, nine o'clock. Staid within unNine o'clock ditto. Tied my knee-strings,
til two o'clock for Sir Timothy ; who did not and washed my hands.
bring me my annuity according to his pro
mise. Hours ten, eleven, and twelve. Smoked abree pipes of Virginia. Read the Supplement
Two in the afternoon. Sat down to din. and Daily Courant. Things go ill in the
Loss of appetite. Small-beer sour. north. Mr. Nisby's opinion thereupon.
Beef over-corned. One o'clock in the afternoon. Chid Ralph
Three. Could not take my nap. for mislaying my tobacco-box.
Four and five. Gave Ralph a box on the Two o'clock. Sat down to dinner. Mem. ear. Turned off my cook-maid. Sent a mesToo many plumbs, and no suet.
senger to Sir Timothy. Mem. I did not go From three to four. Took my afternoon's
to the club to night. Went to bed at nine
o'clock. вар. . From four to six. Walked into the fields.
Friday. Passed the morning in meditation Wind S. S. E. From six to ten. At the Club. Mr. Nisby's before twelve.
upon Sir Timothy, who was with me a quarter opinion about the peace.
Twelve o'clock. Bought a new head to ! Ten o'clock. Went to bed, slept sound.
my cane, and a tongue to my buckle. Drank TUESDAY, being holiday, eight lo'clock, rose
a glass of purl to recover appetite. as usual.
Two and three. Diued and slept well. Nine o'clock.
From four to six. Went to the coffee-house. Washed hands and face, Met Mr. Nisby there. Smoked several pipes. shaved, put on my double-soled shoes. Ten, eleven, twelve. Took a walk to
Mr. Nisby of opinion that laced coffee is bad Islington.
for the head. Ope. Took a pot of Mother Cob's mild.
Six o'clock. At the club as steward. Sat
late. Between two and three. Returned, dined on a knuckle of veal and bacon.
Twelve o'clock. Went to bed, dreamt that
Mem. sprouts wanting.
I drank small beer with the grand vizier. Three. Nap as usual.
SATURDAY. Waked at eleven, walked in tho From four to six. Coffee-house Read the fields, wiird N. E.
Twelve. Caught in a shower. * It has been conjectured that'this journal was intend
One in the afternoon. Returned home and ed to ridicule a gentleman who was a member of the con- dried myself. gregation named independents, where a Mr. Nesbit officiated as minister. See. John Danton's acconnt of his
Two. Mr. Nisby dined with me. First „Life, Errors, and Opinions.
course, marrow-bones ; second, ox-cheek, sith a bottle of Brooks and Hellier.