Imágenes de páginas

Had ended now their orisons, and found
Strength added from above, new hope to spring

eighth he returned, ix. 67. at midnight, ver. 58. and took possession of the serpent waiting close the approach of morn, ver. 191. Morning is described, ver. 192.

Now when as sacred light began to dawn &c.

Eve is prevailed upon to eat of the forbidden fruit a little before noon, ix. 739.

Mean while the hour of noon drew
and wak'd

An eager appetite


Adam eats likewise; they sleep, they wake; and Adam proaches Eve with her desire of wandering this unhappy morn, ix. 1136. In the cool of the evening the Messiah comes down to judge them, x. 92.

Now was the sun in western cadence low

From noon, and gentle airs due at their hour

To fan the earth now wak'd, and usher in

The evening cool; when he from wrath more cool

Came the mild Judge and Intercessor


To sentence Man.

Satan fled from his presence, but returned by night, ver. 341.

hapless pair

Sat in their sad discourse, and va-
rious plaint,
Thence gather'd his own doom, which


Not instant, but of future time, with joy

And tidings fraught, to Hell he now return'd.

In his return to Hell he meets Sin and Death in the morning, ver. 329.

-while the sun in Aries rose. After Sin and Death had arrived in Paradise, the angels are commanded to make several alterations in the heavens and elements: and Adam is represented as lamenting aloud to himself, ver. 846.

Through the still night, not now, as
ere Man fell,

Wholesome and cool, and mild, but
with black air
Accompanied, with damps and dread-
ful gloom.

Adam is afterwards made to talk somewhat confusedly, in one place as if it was still the day of the fall, ver. 962.

Since this day's death denounc'd, if ought I see,

Will prove no sudden, but a slow. pac'd evil.

And having felt the cold damps of the night before, he is con


By night, and list'ning where the sidering how they may provide

themselves with some better warmth and fire before another night comes, ver. 1069.

And in another place as if it was some day after the fall, ver. 1048.

-we expected

Immediate dissolution, which we thought

Was meant by death that day, &c.

-ere this diurnal star Leave cold the night.

That other night we must now

Out of despair, joy, but with fear yet link'd;
Which thus to Eve his welcome words renew'd.
Eve, easily may faith admit, that all

The good which we enjoy, from heav'n descends;
But that from us ought should ascend to heaven
So prevalent as to concern the mind

Of God high-blest, or to incline his will,
Hard to belief may seem; yet this will prayer
Or one short sigh of human breath, upborne
Ev'n to the seat of God. For since I sought
By pray'r th' offended Deity to' appease;
Kneel'd and before him humbled all my heart,

suppose to be past, since the morning here appears again

To resalute the world with sacred light:

So that according to the best calculation we can make, this is the eleventh day of the poem, we mean of that part of it which was transacted within the sphere of day. Mr. Addison reckons only ten days to the action of the poem, that is, he supposes that our first parents were expelled out of Paradise the very next day after the fall; and indeed at first sight it appears so but then we cannot see with what propriety several things are said, which we have here quoted and particularly of the sun's rising in Aries, when Satan met Sin and Death at the brink of Chaos; and if it was still the night after the fall, how could Adam say, as he is represented saying,



[ocr errors]


-which bids us seek

Some better shroud, some better
warmth to cherish
Our limbs benumn'd, ere this di-
urnal star
Leave cold the night.

But indeed the author is not very exact in the computation of time, and perhaps he affected some obscurity in this particular, and did not choose to define, as the Scripture itself has not defined, how soon after the fall it was that our first parents were driven out of Paradise.

150. Kneel'd and before him humbled all my heart,]


"Such is the force of the word kneeled "in that situation, that we ac"tually see Adam upon his "knees before the offended "Deity; and by the conclusion "of this paragraph, Bending "his ear, infinite goodness is


visibly as it were represented "to our eyes as inclining to "hearken to the prayers of his penitent creature." See Let

Methought I saw him placable and mild,
Bending his ear; persuasion in me grew
That I was heard with favour; peace return'd
Home to my breast, and to my memory
His promise, that thy seed shall bruise our foe
Which then not minded in dismay, yet now
Assures me that the bitterness of death

Is past, and we shall live. Whence hail to thee,
Eve rightly call'd, mother of all mankind,
Mother of all things living, since by thee
Man is to live, and all things live for Man.

To whom thus Eve with sad demeanour meck.
Ill worthy I such title should belong
To me transgressor, who for thee ordain'd
A help, became thy snare; to me reproach
Rather belongs, distrust and all dispraise :
But infinite in pardon was my Judge,
That I who first brought death on all, am grac'd
The source of life; next favourable thou,
Who highly thus to' entitle me vouchsaf❜st,
Far other name deserving. But the field

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]



-Woman is her name, of Man



she was taken out of Ish, Man, Gen. ii. 23.

as it is expressed, viii. 496. But now he denominates her Eve or Havah, from a Hebrew word which signifies to live, in firm belief that God would make her the mother of all mankind, and of the promised Seed particularly. Our poet had called her Eve before by way of anticipation.

To labour calls us now with sweat impos'd,
Though after sleepless night; for see the morn,
All unconcern'd with our unrest, begins
Her rosy progress smiling; let us forth,
I never from thy side henceforth to stray
Where'er our day's work lies, though now injoin'd
Laborious, till day droop; while here we dwell,
What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks?
Here let us live, though in fall'n state, content.
So spake, so wish'd much-humbled Eve, but fate
Subscrib'd not; Nature first gave signs, impress'd

175. Her rosy progress smil ing;] This may serve to confirm what we observed before, that Leucothea is the most early morning, that ushers in the Aurora ; she was pale and white before, now she is rosy red, with the nearer approach of the sunbeams, agreeably to the quotation that we made from Lucretius,

-roseam Matuta per oras Etheris Auroram defert.

And the expression of the morn's beginning her progress seems to be copied from Shakespeare, 1 Henry IV. act ii.

-the heav'nly-harness'd team Begins his golden progress in the


181. So spake, &c.] The conference of Adam and Eve is full of moving sentiments. Upon their going abroad after the melancholy night which they had passed together, they discover the lion and the eagle pursuing each of them their prey, towards the eastern gate



of Paradise. There is a double beauty in this incident, not only as it presents great and just omens, which are always agreeable in poetry, but as it expresses that enmity which was now produced in the animal creation. The poct, to shew the like changes in nature, as well as to grace his fable with a noble prodigy, represents the sun in an eclipse. This particular incident has likewise a fine effect upon the imagination of the reader, in regard to what follows; for at the same time that the sun is under an eclipse, a bright cloud descends in the western quarter of the heavens, filled with an host of angels, and more luminous than the sun itself. The whole theatre of nature is darkened, that this glorious machine may appear in all its lustre and magnificence. Addison.

182. Subscrib'd not;] That is, assented not, agreed not to it. Subscribere, to underwrite, thence to agree to. So the

On bird, beast, air, air suddenly eclips'd
After short blush of morn; nigh in her sight
The bird of Jove, stoop'd from his aery tour,
Two birds of gayest plume before him drove;
Down from a hill the beast that reigns in woods,
First hunter then, pursu'd a gentle brace,

[blocks in formation]


[blocks in formation]

But these omens have a singular beauty here, as they show the change that is produced among animals, as well as the change that is going to be made

in the condition of Adam and vented more apposite and proEve; and nothing could be inper for this purpose. An eagle

and a lion chasing a fine hart pursuing two beautiful birds, and hind; and both to the eastern gate of Paradise; as Adam and Eve were to be driven out by the angel at the eastern gate of Paradise.

« AnteriorContinuar »