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The Persons Moses apologizet, recounting how he assumed his true body; that it corrupts not, because it is with God in the mount: declares the like of Enoch and Elijah; besides the purity of the place, that certain pure winds, dews, and clouds, preserve it from corruption; whence exhorts to the sight of God; tells they cannot see Adam in the state of innocence, by reason of their sin. Justice,
debating what should become of man, Mercy,
if he fall. Wisdom, Chorus of angels singing a hymn of the creation.
ACT II Heavenly Love. Evening Star. Chorus sings the marriage song, and describes
Lucifer contriving Adam's ruin. Chorus fears for Adam, and relates Lucifer's rebellion and fall.
ACT IV Adam,
fallen. Eve, Conscience cites them to God's examination. Chorus bewails, and tells the good Adam has lost.
Adam and Eve driven out of Paradise.
-presented by an angel with Labour, Grief, Hatred, Envy, War, Fam
ine, Pestilence, Sickness, Discontent, Mutes.
Ignorance, Fear, Death,
Heat, Tempest, &c.
Such was his first design, which could have produced only an allegory, or mystery. The following sketch seems to have attained more maturity.
Adam unparadised: The angel Gabriel, either descending or entering; showing, since this globe was created, his frequency as much on earth as in heaven; describes Paradise. Next, the chorus, showing the reason of his coming to keep his watch in Paradise, after Lucifer's rebellion, by command from God; and withal expressing his desire to see and know more concerning this excellent new creature, man. The angel Gabriel, as by his name signifying a prince of power, tracing Paradise with a more free office, passes by the station of the chorus, and, desired by them, relates what he knew of man; as the creation of Eve, with their love and marriage. After this, Lucifer appears; after his overthrow, bemoans himself, seeks revenge on man. The chorus prepares resistance at his first approach. At last, after discourse of enmity on either side, he departs: whereat the chorus sings of the battle and victory in heaven, against him and his accomplices: as before, after the first act, was sung a hymn of the creation. Here again may appear Lucifer, relating and exulting in what he had done to the destruction of man. Man next, and Eve, having by this time been seduced by the serpent, appears confusedly covered with leaves. Conscience, in a shape, accuses him; justice cites him to the place whither Jehovah called for him. In the mean while, the chorus entertains the stage, and is informed by some angel the manner of the fall. Here the chorus bewails Adam's fall; Adam then and Eve return; accuse one another; but especially Adam
lays the blame to his wife; is stubborn in his offence. Justice appears, reasons with him, convinces him. The chorus admonisheth Adam, and bids him beware Lucifer's example of impenitence. The angel is sent to banish them out of Paradise; but before, causes to pass before his eyes, in shapes, a mask of all the evils of this life and world. He is humbled, relents, despairs; at last appears Mercy, comforts him, promises the Messiah; then calls in Faith, Hope, and Charity; instructs him; he repents, gives God the glory, submits to his penalty. The chorus briefly concludes. Compare this with the former draught.
These are very imperfect rudiments of Paradise Lost; but it is pleasant to see great works in their seminal state, pregnant with latent possibilities of excellence; nor could there be any more delightful entertainment than to trace their gradual growth and expansion, and to observe how they are sometimes suddenly advanced by accidental hints, and sometimes slowly improved by steady meditation.
Invention is almost the only literary labour which blindness cannot obstruct, and, therefore, he naturally solaced his solitude by the indulgence of his fancy, and the melody of his numbers. He had done what he knew to be necessary previous to poetical excellence; he had made himself acquainted with “seemly arts and affairs;" his comprehension was extended by various knowledge, and his memory stored with intellectual treasures. He was skilful in many languages, and had, by reading and composi
tion, attained the full mastery of his own. He would have wanted little help from books, had he retained the power of perusing them.
But while his greater designs were advancing, having now, like many other authors, caught the love of publication, he amused himself, as he could, with little productions. He sent to the press, 1658, a manuscript of Raleigh, called, the Cabinet Council; and next year gratified his malevolence to the clergy, by a Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Cases, and the Means of removing Hirelings out of the Church.
Oliver was now dead; Richard was constrained to resign: the system of extemporary government, which had been held together only by force, naturally fell into fragments, when that force was taken away;
and Milton saw himself and his cause in equal danger. But he had still hope of doing something. He wrote letters, which Toland has published, to such men as he thought friends to the new commonwealth; and, even in the year of the restoration, he “bated no jot of heart or hope,” but was fantastical enough to think that the nation, agitated as it was, might be settled by a pamphlet, called, a ready and easy Way to establish a free Commonwealth: which was, however, enough considered to be both seriously and ludicrously answered.
The obstinate enthusiasm of the commonwealthmen was very remarkable. When the king was apparently returning, Harrington, with a few associates as fanatical as himself, used to meet, with all the