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Fortior eripuit vitam leo?-
Ast homini ferrim letale incude nefanda

Produxisse parum est.”-etc. I. 166.
V.

“ The barren plains
Of Sericana, where Chineses drive

With sails and wind their cany waggons light." B. 3. 1. 437. This is a remarkable proof of Milton's universal knowledge and perhaps of his credulity. A curious book had been pub, lished by Heylin, one of his contemporaries, and from this he must have gathered the grounds for this improbable assertion. “ In the southerne partes of China," says Heylin, “it is so plaine and level and so unswelled with hills at all, that they have cartes and coaches driven with sails.” Cosmographie, Lib. 3. In one point however he differs from this authority, Serica, according to Cellarius and Patrick, is the same country with the modern Cathay, which Milton has twice mentioned, (B. 10. 1. 293, and B. 11. I. 388.) but which is one of the northern provinces of China,

VI. “ And they who to be sure of Paradise

Dying put on the weeds of Dominic,

Or in Franciscan think to pass disguis'd.” B. 3. l. 480. It was by no means uncommon in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries for the most dissolute to request he might be carried to his grave in the humble disguise of a monk. The following extract from Dr. Jortin's life of Erasmus is probably the best note which can be offered on this singular passage.

“ Baldus in the year 1400, Christophorus Longolius in 1322, and Albertus Pius in 1530, were buried at their request in the habit of a cordelier. Marot in one of his poems hath ridiculed Albertus, who, says he, turned monk after he was dead.Vol. ii. p. 16, where the curious reader will find some further instances and a few remarks on them by Dr. Jortin himself. VII.

" Far distant he descries
Ascending by degrees magnificent

Up to the wall of heaven," &c. B. 3. l. 503.
Dégrés, the French for stairs, is here naturalized in order

to give dignity and effect to the description. This is obvious from the next sentence, which begins" The stairs,” &c. as something, which had been before mentioned.

VIII. “ His habit fit for speed succinct, and held

Before his decent steps a silver wand.” B. 3. 1. 643.

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This is the only instance in which succinct occurs in Paradise Lost, and its meaning is doubtful and obseure. As the passage now stands it qualifies speed and bears a secondary signification. But we must trace it up to its original in order to find its proper interpretation.

The words præcinctus or subcinctus and discinctus were originally applied by the Romans to the different modes in which they adjusted the toga, when they were active or idle, but phrases in such frequent use soon caught metaphorical meanings, which gradually became as definite and well established as the primary. In this way discinctus was made to signify idle or debauched, without any reference to its original import. Thus in Persius we find:

“ Non pudet ad morem discincti vivere Nattæ.” Sat. 3. 1. 31.

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And in Ovid we have it freed from all its relations, and applied to idleness in the abstract:

Ipse ego segnis eram, discinctaque in otin natus." Amor. 9.41.

In Quinctilian, too, (Lib. 2. c. 2.) proni atque succincti are used to signify eager and active. In the last sense succinct must be used in the passage quoted above, if it agrees with 6 speed,” but as speed necessarily implies activity, such a construction renders one of the words useless. This difficulty may be avoided by reading the line with a parenthesis and referring " succinct,” to “ habit.”

His habit (fit for speed) succinct,” &c. This brings us back to the Roman custom and the first sige nification of the word, which is the one Milton generally selects. The last reading may perhaps be preferred, not only on this account, but because it removes an objection which can seldom be urged against Milton and gives more energy and distinctness to the description.*

IX. “ Her countenance triform.” B.3. l. 730. Alluding to the appearances of the moon as waxing, at the full, and waning. The epithet is from Horace. Diva triformis. 3 Od. 22. 1. 4.

X. “O thou that with surpassing glory crown'd

Look'st from thy sole dominion like the God
Of this new world, at whose sight all the stars

Hide their diminished heads;”. B. 4. 1. 35. This resembles very nearly the opening of Ion's beautiful speech when he first appears on the scene.

« Αρματα μεν ταδε λαμπρα τεθριππων
Ηλιος λαμπα κατα γην,
Αστρα δε φευγει πυρι ταδ' αιθερος

Eu vyd' isgær.lon i. 86.
XI.

By thee at least
Divided empire with heaven's king I hold,
By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign,” &c.

B. 4. 1. 110. Milton does not introduce such repetitions by accident. They are a part of the mechanism of his poetry and frequently give an energy to the thought which could be acquired in no other way. Strength, or as it has been admirably called by Algarotti, la gigantesca sublimata Miltoniana, is his grand characteristic, and iteration is one of his favorite artifices to produce it. The two following instances may be safely pronounced unrivalled:

“ Behold me then, me for him, life for life
I offer; on me let thine anger fall,
Account me man.” B. 3. 1. 236.

« On me exercise not
Thy hatred for this misery befallen;

* Since writing the above, the conjecture respecting the meaning of “ succinct” has received some confirmation from a reference to Mariot. tini's translation - Paradise Lost. The passage in question is there rendered." Breve ha la veste." p. 93. edit. Lond. 1796.

On me already lost, me than thyself
More miserable! Both have sinn'd, but thou
Against God only, I against God and thee;
And to the place of judgment will return,
There with my cries importune heaven, that all
The sentence, from thy head remov'd, may light
On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe,
Me, me only just object of his ire." B. 10. 1. 936.

But he has not always been so fortunate. Est ubi peccat. The failings of Milton are not, however, the failings of a common mind. The tide is not always at its flood; but it never recedes without leaving impressions of the height to which it once rose. * In B. 4. 1. 775. B. 9. 1. 178. and some other instances Milton has failed, but not without honor. The faseination of many of the ancient poets, particularly Anacreon, depends much on the frequent and judicious use of the artifice which Milton manages with such skill.

Δι' όν και Μεθη λοχευθη,
Δι' εν και Χαρις ετεχθη, ,
Δι' ών αμπαυεται Λυπα, ,
Ai óv suwaker' Avia.

Ode 41.
Ιν' οταν ταμωσι βοτρυν,
Ανοσοι μενωσι παντες,
Ανοσοι δεμας θητος, ,
Ανοσοι γλυκυν το θυμον, κ. τ. λ.

Ode 50. The charm of these passages evidently consists in the repetition at the beginning of each line. Virgil, too, was not ignorant of this grace, (Geo: 4. I. 466.) and Milton, when he dictated the passages just cited, perhaps remembered the passionate exclamation of Nisus in the fine episode to the ninth book of the Æneid.

Me, me; adsum qui feci, in me convertite ferrum,
O Rutuli, mea fraus omnis, etc." 1. 427.

And the intercession of the mother of Earyalus:

* Longinus de Sub: sec. 9,

Figite me, si qua est pietas, in me omnia tela Conjicite, O Rutuli, me primum absumite ferro." 1. 494.

XII.“ So clomb this first grand thief into God's fold

So since into his church lewd hirelings climb." B. 4. 1. 193. Milton's bitterness against the regular clergy, and the eagerness with which he obtrudes it on all occasions, render his motives a little suspicious. The Episcopalians were always the objects of his abuse. He marks them in Lycidas under the opprobious description of

« Such as for their bellies' sake Creep and intrude and climb into the fold." 1. 115. But when Episcopacy was humbled, he did not find himself better satisfied with Presbyterianism, for in a sonnet addressed to Cromwell, he says,

“ Help us to save free conscience from the paw

Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw.” Son. 16.
The passage in Par. Lost seems to be a happy concentra-
tion of the gall of both the others.
XIII.

" While universal Pan
Knit with the graces and the hours in dance

Led on th' eternal spring." B. 4. 1. 266. Milton had lived too long in the land of conceits and mythology, to be entirely free from affectation and false taste. From the Italians he learned to introduce heathen deities into Christian poetry. Spencer had done it before, and Dryden has imitated him in a single instance. In 6 May” Spencer says,

« For Pan himself was their inheritance."

And in “ July,"

“ The brethren twelve that kept yfere

The flocks of mighty Pan." There is a mysterious force in this name, which certainly induces us to pass it by with less censure than that of almost any other heathen deity thus introduced, yet in truth Milton

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