Imatges de pÓgina

Delphic abstraction, a beautiful thing made more beautiful by being reflected and put in a mist. The next mention of vale is one of the most pathetic in the whole range of poetry.

"Others more mild
Retreated in a silent valley, sing,
With notes angelical to many a harp
Their own heroic deeds and hopeless fall
By doom of battle! and complain that fate
Free virtue should inthrall to force or chance.
Their song was partial; but the harmony
(What could it less when spirits immortal sing?)
Suspended hell, and took with ravishment
The thronging audience."

Book II. l. 547.

How much of the charm is in the word valley.

The light and shade, the sort of black brightness, the ebon diamonding, the ethiop immortality, the sorrow, the pain, the sad sweet melody, the Phalanges of spirits so depressed as to be" uplifted beyond hope," the short mitigation of misery, the thousand melancholies and magnificencies of the following lines leave no room for anything to be said thereon but "so it is."

"That proud honor claimed
Azazel as his right, a Cherub tall,
Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurled
The imperial ensign, which, full high advanced,
Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind,
With gems and golden lustre rich emblazed,
Seraphic arms and trophies; all the while.
Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds;
At which the universal host upsent

A shout, that tore Hell's concave, and beyond
Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.
All in a moment through the gloom were seen
Ten thousand banners rise into the air
With orient colors waving; with them rose
A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms
Appeared, and serried shields in thick array,
Of depth immeasurable; anon they move
In perfect phalanx, to the Dorian mood
Of flutes, and soft recorders; such as raised
To height of noblest temper heroes old
Arming to battle; and instead of rage

Deliberate valor breathed, firm and unmoved
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat;
Nor wanting power to mitigate and suage
With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase
Anguish, and doubt, and fear, and sorrow, and pain
From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they
Breathing united force, with fixed thought
Moved on in silence to soft pipes, that charmed
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil; and now
Advanced in view, they stand, a horrid front
Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise
Of warriors old with ordered spear and shield,
Awaiting what command their mighty chief
Had to impose."

Book I. ll. 534-567.

How noble and collected an indignation against Kings, line 595, Book 1st. His very wishing should have had power to pluck that feeble animal Charles from his bloody throne. The evil days had come to him; he hit the new system of things a mighty mental blow; the exertion must have had, or is yet to have some sequences.

The management of this poem is Apollonian. Satan first "throws round his baleful eyes," then awakes his legions, he consults, he sets forward on his voyage, and just as he is getting to the end of it we see the Great God and our first Parent, and that same Satan all brought in one vision; we have the invocation to light before we mount to heaven, we breathe more freely, we feel the great author's consolations coming thick upon him at a time when he complains most, we are getting ripe for diversity, the immediate topic of the Poem opens with a grand Perspective of all concerned.

Book IV. A friend of mine says this book has the finest opening of any; the point of time is gigantically critical, the wax is melted, the seal about to be applied, and Milton breaks out,


"O for that warning voice," &c.

There is, moreover, an opportunity for a grandeur of Tenderness. The opportunity is not lost. Nothing can be higher, nothing so more than Delphic.

There are two specimens of a very extraordinary beauty in the Paradise Lost; they are of a nature, so far as I have read, unexampled elsewhere; they are entirely distinct from the brief pathos of Dante, and they are not to be found even in Shakspeare. These are, according to the great prerogative of Poetry, better described in themselves than by a volume. The one is in line 266, Book IV.

"Not that fair field

Of Enna where Proserpine gathering flowers,
Herself a fairer flower, by gloomy Dis

Was gathered, which cost Ceres all that pain
To seek her through the world."

The other is that ending "nor could the Muse defend her son."

"But drive far off the barbarous dissonance

Of Bacchus and his revellers, the race

Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard,
In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears
To rapture, till the savage clamor drowned
Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend
Her Son."

These appear exclusively Miltonic, without the shadow of another mind ancient or modern.

Book VI. 1. 58. Reluctant with its original and modern meaning combined and woven together, with all its shades of signification has a powerful effect.

Milton in many instances pursues his imagination to the utmost, he is "sagacious of his Quarry," he sees beauty on the wing, pounces upon it, and gorges it to the producing his essential verse. "So from the root springs lighter the green stalk."

But in no instance is this sort of perseverance more exemplified, than in what may be called his stationing or statuary. He is not content with simple description, he must station; thus here we not only see how the birds

"With clang despised the ground," but we see them "Under a cloud in prospect." So we see Adam “ Fair indeed and tall," "under a plantain," and so we see Satan "Disfigured" "on the Assyrian Mount."


POOR bird! destined to lead thy life
Far in the adventurous west,
And here to be debarred to-night

From thy accustomed nest;

Must thou fall back upon old instinct now
Well nigh extinct under man's fickle care?
Did heaven bestow its quenchless inner light
So long ago, for thy small want to-night?
Why stand'st upon thy toes to crow so late?
The moon is deaf to thy low feathered fate;
Or dost thou think so to possess the night,
And people the drear dark with thy brave sprite?
And now with anxious eye thou look'st about,
While the relentless shade draws on its veil,
For some sure shelter from approaching dews,
And the insidious steps of nightly foes.
I fear imprisonment has dulled thy wit,
Or ingrained servitude extinguished it.
But no-
-dim memory of the days of yore,
By Brahmapootra and the Jumna's shore,
Where thy proud race flew swiftly o'er the heath,
And sought its food the jungle's shade beneath,
Has taught thy wings to seek yon friendly trees,
As erst by Indus' banks and far Ganges.





LIGHT-Winged smoke, Icarian bird,
Melting thy pinions in thy upward flight,
Lark without song, and messenger of dawn,
Circling above the hamlets as thy nest;

Or else, departing dream, and shadowy form


Of midnight vision, gathering up thy skirts;
By night star-veiling, and by day
Darkening the light and blotting out the sun;-
Go thou my incense upward from this hearth,
And ask the Gods to pardon this clear flame.



Woof of the sun, etherial gauze,
Woven of nature's richest stuffs,
Visible heat, air-water, and dry sea,
Last conquest of the eye;
Toil of the day displayed, sun-dust,
Aerial surf upon the shores of earth,
Etherial estuary, frith of light,
Breakers of air, billows of heat,
Fine summer spray on inland seas;
Bird of the sun, transparent-winged,
Owlet of noon, soft-pinioned,

From heath or stubble rising without song;
Establish thy serenity o'er the fields.



SWEET Love, I cannot show thee in this guise
Of earthly words, how dear to me thou art,
Nor once compare thy image in my eyes
With thy dear self reposed within my heart.
The love I bear to thee I truly prize
Above all joys that offer in the mart
Of the wide world, our wishes to suffice,
And yet I seek thy love; for no desert

That I can boast, but that my new love cries

For love that to its own excess is meet,

And searching widely through this dark world's space,

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