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TIMENTS, and the LANGUAGE. I have, in the next place, spoken of the censures which our author may incur under each of these heads; of which I might have enlarged the number, if I had been disposed to dwell on to ungrateful a subject. I believe, however, that the fevereft reader will not find any little fault in heroick poetry, which this author has fallen into, that does not come under one of those heads among which I have diftributed his several blemishes.
After having thus treated at large of Paradise Loft, I could not think it sufficient to have celebrated this Poemn in the whole, without descending to particulars. I have, therefore, endeavoured not only to prove that the Poem is beautiful in general, but to point out its particular beauties, and to determine wherein they confift I have endeavoured
Britannia's Pastorals, elegantly calls the Morning “ lilly-handed:" Other decorations of this kind may be found in his poems. Drayton seems to have been particularly fond of compounds ; for, in his fifty-third Sonnet alone, there occur the “ filvarJanded shore,"—the “ nectar-dropping thowers,”-the “ myrrhebreathing zephyr," and the “ dew-impearled flowers." From Hall's Satires, from the poetry of Daniel, Drummond, Wither, and Crashaw, many compounds of fine effect might be extracted. Compound epithets indeed were so much in fathion, in the beginning of the seventeenth century, that they were often ad- mitted into profe. Thus in Stafford's Niobe, or His Age of Teares, 1611, p-9, fpeaking of immodeft women, 6 whatsoeuer their luft-darting eyes fhall seize vpon :" Again, speaking of a lady's mouth, “ those lippes, the purple porters to that corallpaued palace,” p. 122; an epithet, which Milton has differently applied in Comus; N. 886. Many more instances might be given.
to show how some paffages are beautiful by being sublime, others by being soft, others by being natural; which of them are recommended by the passion, which by the moral, which by the sentiment, and which by the expression. I have likewise endeavoured to show how the genius of the poet shines by a happy invention, a distant allusion, or a judicious imitation; how he has copied or improved Homer or Virgil, and raises his own imaginations by the use which he has made of feveral poetical paffages in Scripture. I might have inserted also several passages of Taffo, which our author has imitated; but, as I do not look upon Taffo to be a sufficient voucher, I would not perplex my reader with such quotations, as might do more honour to the Italian than the Englisha poet. In short, I have endeavoured to particularize those innumerable kinds of beauty, which it would be tedious to recapitulate, but which are essential to poetry; and which may be met with in the works of this great author *. ADDISON,
* The preceding criticism may be found in the following eighteen Papers, in The Spectator, viz. Nos. 267, 273, 279, 285, 291, 297, 303, 309, 315, 321, 327, 333, 339, 345, 351, 357, 363, and 369. I have here formed them into a Preliminary Discourse; to which I add, from the 86th, 88th, 90th, 92d, and 94th Papers in The Rambler, (which seem to have been intended by Dr. Johnfon as a Supplement to Mr. Addison's illur. tration of the FALLE, the chARACTERS, the SENTIMENTS, and the LANGUAGE,) a criticism on the verSIFICATION. See
I venture to remark, that two passages of uncommon beauty and excellence have escaped the notice of Mr. Addison : I mean the speech of Satan in the ninth book, ver. 99, &c. which ex hibits perhaps the finest traits of character in the whole Poem: and the description of the fame Infernal Being, in the tenth book, after Eve has been seduced, changing his shape to observe the fequel; flying when he beholds the Son of God defcend to judge our first parents; returning afterwards, and littening to their fad discourse; and thence gathering his own doom. TODD
DR. JOHNSON'S REMARKS
VERSIFICATION OF MILTON.
Legitimúmque sonum digitis callemus et aure."
Hor. Art. Poct. v. 274.
“ The secret power a " Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit By voice or hand; and various-measurd verse."
Par. Reg. B. iv. 255.
ONE of the ancients has observed, that the burthen of government is encreased upon princes by the virtues of their immediate predecessours. It is, indeed, always dangerous to be placed in a ftate of unavoidable comparison with excellence; and the danger is still greater when that excellence is consecrated by death, when envy and interest cease to act againtt it, and those paslions by which it was at first vilified and opposed now stand in its
a Dr. Warton is justly surprised, that Pope Mould notice two great masters of verSIFICATION, Waller and Dryden, and yet omit the tiame of Milton. " What! did Milton contribute nothing to the harmony and extent of our language?-Surely his verses cary and resound as much, and display as much majelly and energy, as any that can be found in Dryden.” See Ejay on Pope, vol. ii. p. 351, edit. 1782. I shall enlarge these remarks of Dr. Johnson by occasionally introducing other opinions refpecting Milton's VERSIFICATION; together with various proofs, that the poet's “ skill in harmony was not less than his invention or his learning." TODD.
defence, and turn their vehemence against honest emulation.
He, that fucceeds a celebrated writer, has the same difficulties to encounter: He stands under the shade of exalted merit, and is hindered from rising to his natural height, by the interception of those beams which should invigorate and quicken hiin. He applies to that attention which is already engaged, and unwilling to be drawn off from certain fatisfaction; or perhaps to an attention already wearied, and not to be recalled to the same object. One of the old poets congratulates himself that he has the untrodden regions of Parnaffus before him, and that his garland will be gathered from plantations which no writer had yet culled. But the imitator treads a beaten walk; and, with all his diligence, can only hope to find a few flowers or branches untouched by his predeceffour; the refuse of contempt, or the omissions of negligence. The Macedonian conquerour, when he was once invited to hear a man that fung like a nightingale, replied with contempt, that he had heard the nightingale herself; and the fame treatment must every man expect, whose praise is, that he imitates another.
Yet, in the midst of these discouraging reflections, I am about to offer to the reader fome observations upon Paradise Lost; and hope, that, however I may fall below the illustrious writer who has so long dictated to the commonwealth of learning, my attempt may not be wholly useless. There are, in every age, new errours to be realified, and new prejudices to be opposed. False taste is also busy