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The very general and high commendation, bestowed by the press and the community upon the American edition of Macaulay's Miscellaneous Writings, has induced the publishers to issue a new aiid cheap edition embracing the remainder of the articles in the Edmburgh Review, and several articles written and published while the author was at college.






Milton I

Edinburgh Review. ' 1825.

Machiavslli •-.-. •• 10

Edinburgh Review. 1827.

Drtden 35

Edinburgh Review. 1828.

History ....••••.• 51

Edinburgh Review. 1828.

Hallam*8 Constitutional History -.••....•...-67

Bdinburgh Review. 1828.

Southey's Colloquies on Society .-•• 99

Edinburgh Review. 1830.

MooRE*s Life of Lord Byron 115

Edinburgh Review. 1831.

Southey's Edition of the Pilgrim's Progress --, 128

Edinburgh Review. 1831.

Croker's Edition op Boswell's Life of Johnson 135

Edinburgh Review. 1831.

Lord Nuoent's Memorials of Hampden •--•151

Edinburgh Review. 1831.

Nares's Memoirs of Lord Burohley •.•••.••••. 171

Edinburgh Review. 1832.

Dumont's Recollections op Mirabbau •.•.••••-.• 182

Edinburgh Review. 1832.

Lord Mahon's War of the Succession 192

Edinburgh Review. 1333.

Walfole's Letters to Sir Horace Mann 211

Edinburgh Review. 1833.

Thackeray's History of the Earl of Chatham 226

Edinburgh Review. 1834.

Lord Bacon 24B

Edinburgh Review. 1837.

Mackintosh's History of the Retolution in England, in 1688 - - 289

G^nburgh Review. 1835.




Sir John Malcolm'i Life ov Lord Clive ••... 816

Edinbnrgli Review. 1840.

Life and Writinos of Sir William Temple 845

Edinburgh Review. 1838.

Church and State 378

Edinbmgh Review. 1839.

Ranee's Histort of the Popes 401

Edinburgh Review. 1840.

Cowley and Milton 415

On Mitford's Histort of Greece 424

On the Athenian Orators 438

Comic Dramatists of the Restoration 438

Edinburgh Review. 1841.^

The Late Lord Holland - 456

Edinburgh Review. 1841.

Warren Hastings -- 460

Edinburgh Review. 1841.

Frederic the Great 50a

Edinburgh Review. 1842.

Lays of Ancient Rome - 531

Preface 533

Horatius - 540

The Battle of the Lake Regillus 547

Virginia .--. 555

The Prophecy of Capys 553

Appendix 569

Madame D'Arblay •^-. ...---.... 573

Edinburgh Review. January, 18tt.

Life and Writings of Addison --•«•«••-• 594

Edinburgh Review. July, 1843.

Earbre's Memoirs 024

Edinburgh Review. April, 18U.

BIr. Robert Montoomert's Poems .•••..... 657

Edinburgh Review. April, 1830.


Mill's Essay ON Gk>yERNMENT -670

Edinburgh Review. March, 1889.

Bentham's Dsfenob of Mill ..••--.- 684

Edinburgh Review. June, 1889.

UiiLiTARiAM Theory of Govebwmbnt ..*..... 696

Edinburgh Review. October, 1889. The Earl of Chatham 709

Edinburgh Review. October, 1844. BpEECH ON Installation as Lord Rector of Olamow UNiTEiMrrY - - - 740 Speech on Retiring from Political Life - 748



[EDUfBUKsn Rbvtsw, 1625.]

TowAmDs the close of the year 1828, Mr. Le- mon, Deputy Keeper of the Btate Papers, in the coarse of his researches among the presses of his office, met with a large Latin mannscript With it were fonnd corrected copies of the foreign despatches written by Milton, while he filled the office of Secretary, and several papers relating to the Popish Trials and the Rye-house Plot The whole was wrapped up in an enve- lope, superscribed ** To in: Skinner, MenhanL** On examination, the large manuscript proved to be the long lost Essay on the Doctrines of Christianity, which, according to Wood and Toland, Milton finished aAer the Restoration, and deposited with Cvriac Skinner. Skinner, it is well known, held the same political opi- nions widi his illustrious friend. .It is therefore probable, as Mr. Lemon conjectures, Aat he may have fallen under the suspicions of the government daring that persecution of the Whigs which followed the dissolution of the Oxford Parliament, and that, in consequence of a general seizure of his papers, this work may have been brought to the office in which it had been found. But whatever the adven- tures of the manuscript may have been, no doubt can exist, that it is a genuine relic of the great poet.

Mr. Simmer, who was commanded by his majesty to edit and translate the treatise, has acquitted himself of this task in a manner honourable to his talents and to his character. His version is not indeed very easv or elegant ; but it is entitled to the praise of clearness and fidelity. His notes abound with interesting quotations, and have the rare merit of really elucidating &e text. The preface is evidently the work of a sensible and candid man, firm in his own religious opinions, and tolerant to- wards those of others.

The book itself will not add much to the fame of Milton. It is, like all his Latin works, well written though not exactly in the style of th^ Prize Essays of Oxford and Cambridge. There is no elaborate imitation of classical

Jtammig Mttl^mi, JinglUi* Doetrhui CkrhHMw HM Sup 9a*rkumt A Treatise on Christian Doctrine, com- piled from ih«* Holy Scriptures alone. By John Miltor, irHiiHl'itttd from the original by Cbarlea R Sumner, M h.,itt.tct l$ii Vou I.— 1

antiquity, no scrupulous parity, none of the ceremonial cleanness which characterizes the diction of our academical Pharisees. He does not attempt to polish and brighten his composi- tion into the Ciceronian gloss and brilliancy. He does not, in short, sacrifice sense and spirit to pedantic refinements. The nature of his subject compelled him to use many words

**Tbat would have made Quintilian sure and fasp."

But he writes with as much ease and freedom as if Latin were his mother tongue; and where he is least happy, his failure seems to arise from the carelessness of a native, not from the ignorance of a foreigner. What P ;- ham with great felicity sajrs of Cowley, m: applied to him. He wears the garb, but t the clones, of die ancients.

Throughout the volume are diMsemible the traces of a powerful and independent mind« emancipated from the influence of authority, and devoted to the search of truth. He pro- fesses to form his system from the Bible alone ; and his digest of Scriptural texts is certainly among the best that have appeared. But he is not always so happy in his inferences as in hit citations.

Some of the heterodox opinions which he avows seem to have excited considerable amazement: particularly his Arianism, and his notions on the subject of polygamy. Yet we can scarcely conceive that any person could have read the Paradise Lost without suspecting him of the former, nor do we think that any reader, acquainted with the history of his life, ought to be much startled at the latter. The opinions which he has expressed respect- ing the nature of the Deity, the eternity of mat- ter, and the observation of the Sabbath, might, we think, have caused more just surprise.

But we will not go into the discussion of these points. The book, were it far more or- thodox, or farmore heretical than it is, would not much edify or corrupt the present genera^ tion. The men of our time are not to be con verted or perverted by quartos. A few mon* days, and this Essay will follow the Df/mn** Popnlx to the duMt and silence of the upper shelC The name of its author, and the re* markable circumstances attending its publii^


don, will secure to it a certain degree of atten- rion. For a month or two it will occupy a few ininates of chat in every drawing-room, and a fe%r colarans in every magazine ; and it will then, to borrow the elegant language of ihe play-biils, be withdrawn, to make room for the forthcoming novelties.

We wish, however, to avail onrsehres ol^ the mtenestt transient as it may be, which this work has excited. The dexterous Capuchins never choose to preach on the life and mira- cles of a saint, till they have awakened the devotional feelings of their auditors, by exhi- biting some relic of him a thread of his gar- ment, a lock of his hair, or a drop of his blood. On the same principle, we intend to take ad- vantage of the late interesting discovery, and, while this memorial of a great and good man is still in the hands of all, to say something of his moral and intellectual qualities. Nor, we are convinced, will the severest of our readers blaaMus if, on an occasion like Che present, we turn for a short time from ihe topics of the day to commemorate, in all love and reve- rence, the genius and virtues of John Milton, the poet, the statesman, the philosopher, the glory of English literature, the champion and the martyr of English liberty.

It is by his poetry that Milton is best known; and it is of his poetry that we wish first to speak. By the general suffrage of the civilized world, his place has beem assigned among the greatest masters of the art His detractors, however, though out-voted, have not been silenced. There are many critics, and some ot great name, who contrive, in the same breath, to extol die poems and to decry the poet The works, they acknowledge, considered in themselves, may be classed among the noblest productions of Ae human mind. But they will not allow Ae author to rank with (hose great men who, bom in the infancy of civilization, supplied, by their own powers, the mm of in- struction, and» though destitute of models them- selves, bequeathed to posterity models which defy imitation. Milton, it is said, inherited what his predecessors created ; he lived in an enlightened age; he received a finished edu- cation ; and we must therefore, if we would form a just estimate of his powers, make large deductions for these advantages.

We venture to say, on the contrary, para- tloxical as ihe remark nay appear, that no poet has ever had to struggle with more un- iavourable circumstances than Milton. He doubted, as he has himself owned, whether be had not been bom **«n age too late." For this notion Johnson has thought fit to make him the butt of his clumsy ridicule. The poet, we believe, understood the nature of his art better than the critic He knew that his poeti- cal genius derived no advantage from the civilization which surrounded him, or from Ihe .vaming which he had acquired : and he Ijoked back with someHiing like regret to the lodpf age of simple words and vivid impres- «ions.

We ihmk that, as civilization advances, po- etry almost necessarily declines. Therefore, fhoti^ we admire those great works of imagi- nation which have appeared in dark ages, we

do not admire them the more because ihry have appeared in dark ages. On the contrary we hold that the most wonderful and splendid proof of genius is a great poem produced in a civilized age. Wc cannot understand why those who believe in that most orthodox article of literary faith, that the earliest poets are generally the best should wonder at the ralo as if it were the eaception. Surely the uni formity of the phenomenon indicates acorres ponding uniformity in the cause.

The fact is, that common observers reason from the progress of the experimental sciences to that of the imitative arts. The improve- ment of the former is gradual and slow. Ages are spent in collecting materials, ages more in separating and combining them. Even when a system has been formed, there is siill some- thing to add, to alter, or to reject Every gene* ration enjoys the use of a vast hoard be- queathed to it by antiquity, and transmits it, augmented by fresh acquisitions, to future ages. In these pursuit^, thentfbre, the first speculators lie under great disaavantages, and* even when they fail, ai« entitled iO praise. Their pupils, with iar inferior iiitellectual powers, speedily surpass them in actual attain- ments. Every girl, who has read Mrs. Maicei*^ little Dialogues on Political Economy., cottM teach Montague or Walpole many lessons in finance. Any intelligent man may now, by resolutely applying himself for a few jrears u> mathematics, leara more ttian the great New- ton knew aAer half a century of study and meditatioB.

But it is not thtis with musie, wiA painting, or with sculpture. Still less is it thus with po- etry. The progress of refinement rarely sup* plies these arts with better objects of imitation, it may, indeed, improve the instraments which are necessary to the mechanical operations of the musician, the sculptor, and iSbe painter. But language, the machine of the poet, is besK fitted for his purpose in its rudest state. Na- tions, like individuals, first perceive, and then abstract They advance from particular im- ages to general terms. Hence, the vocabulary of an enlightened society is philosophical, that of a half-civilized people is poeticaL

This change in Uie language of men is part- ly the cause, and partly Sit effect of a corres- ponding change in the nature of their intellee- tuaJ operations, a change by which science gains, and poetry loses. Ckneralization is ne- cessary to the advancement of knowledge, but particularly in the creations of the imagination. In proportion as men know more, and think more, th^ look less at individuals and more at classes. They therefore BMike better theo- ries and worse poems. They give us vague phrases instead of images, and personified qualities instead of men. Tliey may be better able 40 analyze human nature than their pre- decessors. But analysis is not the business of the poet His office is to portray, not to dis- sect He may believe in a monu sense, like Shaftesbury. He may refer all human actions to self-inlerest, liKe Helv^lius,or he may never think about the matter at all. His creed on such subjects will no more influence his pnffjy. properly ^ called, than the notions


jirbich a painter may hare conceived respecting the lachrymal glands, or the circulation of the blood wiU affect the tears of his Niobe, or the blushes of his Aurora. If Shakspeare had written a book on the motives of human ac^ tioos, it is by no means certain that it would have been a good one. It is extremely impro- bable that it would have contained half so iQQch able reasoning on the subject as is to be found in the ** Fable of the Bees.** But could MandeviUe have created an lago 1 Well as he knew how to resolve characters into their ele- ments, would he have been able to combine those elements in such a manner as to make up a man a real, living, individual man I

Perhaps no man can be a poet, or can even enjoy poetry, without a certain unsoundness of mind, if any thing which gives so much pleasure ought to be called unsoundness. By poetry we mean, not of course all writing in verse, nor even all good writing in verse. Our definition excludes many metrical compo- sitions which, on other grounds, deserve the highest praise. By poetry we mean, the art of employing words in such a manner as to pro- duce an illusion on the imagination : the art of doing by means of words what the painter does by means of colours. Thus the greatest of poets has described it. In lines universally ad- mired for the vigour and felicity of their dic- tion, and istill more valuable on account of the just notion which they convey of the art in which he excelled.

■** ioiiiflBation bodiM fofth The foroM of ihingi uokDown, tba pQ(et'«|>«B Tumi them tn thapee, KDd gives to airy nothiof a local habluiion and a nama.**

These are the fruits of the ** fine frtnzv^ which he ascribes to the poet a fine frenzy doubtless, but still a frenzy. Truth, indeed, is essential to poetry ; but it is the truth of madness. The reasonings are just; but the premises are false. AAer the first suppositions have been made, every thing ought to be consistent ; but those first suppositions reqiure a degree of credulity which almost amounts to a partial and tempo- rary derangement of the intellect Hence, of all people, children are the most imaginative. They abandon themselves without reserve to every illusion. Every image which is strongly presented to their mental eye produces on them the «fiect of reality. ISo man, whatever his sensibili^ may be, is ever afiected by Hamlet or Lear, as a little girl is affected by the story of poor Red Riding-hood. She Jknows that it is all false, that wolves cannot speak, that there are no wolves in England. Yet in spite of her knowledge she believes; she weeps, she trembles ; she dares not go into a dark room lest she should feel the teeth of the monster at her throat Such is the despotism of the imagination over uncultivated minds.

In a rude stale of society, men are children with a greater variety of ideas. It is there- fore in such a state of society that we may expect to find the poetical temperament in its highest perfection. In an enlightened age there will be much intelligence, much science, much philosophy, abundance of just classifica- tion and subtle analysis, abundance of wit and eloquence, abundance of verses, and even of

good ones*^4>at Uttle poetry, Htn wiU ji^dgi and compare ; but they wiU not create. They will talk about the old poets, and comment 04 them, and to a certain degree enjc^ them^ But they will scarcely be able to conceive the effect which poetry produced on their ruder ancestors, the agony, the ecstasy, the plenitude of belief. The Greek Rhapsodists, according to Plato, could not recite Homer without almost falling into convulsions.* The Mohawk hardly feels the scalping-knile while he shouts his death-song. The power which the ancient bards of Wales and Germany exercised over their auditors seems to modem readers almosjt miraculous. Such feelings are very rare in a civilized comm^ity, and most rare among those who participate most in its improve- ments. They linger longest among the pea- santry.

Poetry produces an illusion on the eye of the mind, as a magic lantern produces an illusion on the eye of the body. And, as the magie lantern acts best in a dark room, poetry effect^ its purpose most completely in a dark age. As the light of knowledge breaks in upon its exhibitions, as tlie outUnes of certainty bei* come more and more definite, and the shadea of probability more and more distinct, the \ hues and lineaments of the phantoms which it calls up grow fainter and fainter. We cannot unite ttie incompatible advantages of realiir and deception, the clear discernment of truU and the exquisite enjoyment of fiction.

He who, in an enlighte&ed and literary society, aspires to be a great poet, must first become a little child. He must take to pieces the whole web of his mind. 0e mast onleam much of that knowledge which has perhaps constituted hitherto his chief title cHf supe- riority. His very talents will he a hinderanoe to him. His difficulties will be proportioned to his proficiency in the pursuits which are (ajshionable among his contemporaries; and that proficiency wUl in general •he proportioned to the vigour and activity of his mind. And it is well, if, aAer all his sacrifices and exeiw tions, his works do not resemble a lisping man, or a modem min. We have seen in our own time, great talents, intense labour, and long meditation, employed in 4his struggle against the spirit of the age, and employed, we will not say, absolutely in vain, but with dubious success and feeble applauae.

If these reasonings be >ust, no poet has ever triomphed over greater difficulties than Milton. He received a learned education. He was a proibund and elegant classical scholar : he had studied all the mysteries of Rabbinical literature: he was intimately ai> quainted with everv language of modem Eui- rope, from which either pleasure or information was then to be derived. He was perhaps the only great poet of later times who has been distinguished by the excellence of his Latim verse. The genius of Petrarch was scarcely of ihe first order; and his poems in the ancient language, though much praised by those who have never read them, are wretched com positions. Cowley, with all hi: admirable wk

Ate tkt Oi»locBaiNiwe«i AMiataa sad !•


and ingramty, had little imagination; nor indeed do we think his classical diction com-

J arable to that of Milton. The authority of ohnson is against ns on this point« Bat Johnson had studied the bad writers of the middle ages till he had become utterly insen- sible to the Augustan elegance, and was as ill qualified to judge between two Latin styles as an habitual drunkard tu set up for a wine- taster.

Versification in a dead language is an exotic, a far-fetched, costly, sickly imitation of that which elsewhere may be found in healthful and spontaneous perfection. The soils on which this rarity flourishes are in general as ill suited to the production of vigorous native poetry, as the flower-pots of a hot-house to the growth of oaks. That the author of the Para- dise Lost should have written the Epistle to Manso, was truly wonderful. Never before were such marked originality and such ex- quisite mimicry found together. Indeed, in all the Latin poems of Milton, the artificial manner indispensable to such works is admirably pre- served, while, at the same time, the richness of his fancy and the elevation of his senti- ments give to them a peculiar charm, an air of nobleness and freedom, which distinguishes them from all other writings of the same class. They remind us of the amusements of those angelic warriors who composed the cohort of Gabriel :

'* About hloB exercised heroic garoee The unarmed youth of heiireD. But o*er their heads Ceietlfail armory, ehteld, helm, and spear. Bung brif ht, with diamond flaming and with gold.**

We cannot look upon the sportive exercises for which the genius of Milton ungirds itself, without catching a glimpse of the gorgeous and terrible panoply which it is accustomed to wear. The strength of his imagination triumphed over every obstacle. So intense and ardent was the fire of his mind, that it not only was not suffocated beneath the weight of iu fuel, but penetrated the whole supers incumbent mass with its own heat and ra- diance.

It is not our intention to attempt any thing like a Complete examination of the poetry of Milton. The public has long been agreed as to the merit of the most remarkable passages, the incomparable harmony of the numbers, and the excellence of that style which no rival has been able to equal, and no parodist to degrade, which displays in their highest per- fection the idiomatic powers of the English tongue, and to which every ancient and every modem language has contributed something of grace, of energy, or of music. In the vast field of criticism in which we are entering, innumerable reapers have already put their sickles. Yf"t the harvest is so abundant that the negligent search of a straggling gleaner may be rewarded with a sheaf.

The most striking characteristic of the poetry of Milton is the extreme remoteness of the ais:*r»ciations. by means of which it acts on the reader. Its effect is produced, not so much Uj what ii expresses, as by what it suggests not so much by the ideas which it directly conve)'s, a* ttj other ideas which are con-

nected with them. He electrifies the mind through conductors. The most imimaginative man must understand the Iliad. Homer gives him no choice, and requires from him no exer- tion ; but takes the whole upon himself, and sets his images in so clear a light that it 19 impossible to be blind to them. The works of Milton cannot be comprehended or enjoyed, tinless the mind of the reader co-operate wiih that of the writer. He does not paint a finished

Sicture, or play for a mere passive listener, [e sketches, and leaves others to fill up the outline. He strikes the key-note, and expects his hearer to make out the melody.

We often hear of the magical influence of poetry. The expression in general means nothing; but, applied to the writings of Milton, it is most appropriate. His poetry acts like an incantation. Its merit lies less in its obvious meaning than in its occult power. There would seem, at first sight, to be no more in his words than in other words. But they are words of enchantment ; no sooner are they pronounced than the past is present, and the distant near. New forms of beau^ start at once into existence, and all the burial places of the memory give up their dead. Change the structure of the sentence, substitute one synonyme for another, and the whole effect is destroyed. The spell loses its power : and he who should then hope to conjure with it, would find himself as much mistaken as Cassim in the Arabian tale, when he stood crying, " Open Wheat," ** Open Barley," to the door which obeyed no sound but " Open Sesame !" The miserable failure of Dryden, in his attempt to rewrite some parts of the Paradise Lost, is a remarkable instance of this.

In support of these observations we may remark, that scarcely any passages in the poems of Milton are more generally known, or more frequently repeated, than those which are little more than muster rolls of names. They are not always more appropriate or more melodious than otfter names. But they are charmed names. Every one ;f them is the first link in a long chain of associated ideas. Like the dwelling-place of our infancy revisited in manhood, like the song of our country heard in a strange land, they produce upon us an effect wholly independent of their intrinsic value. One transports us back to a remote period of history. Another places us among the moral scenery and manners of a distant country. A third evokes all the dear classical recollections of childhood, the school- room, the dog-eared Virgil, the holiday, and the prize. A fourth brings before us the splendid phantoms of chivalrous romance, the trophied lists, the embroidered housings, the quaint devices, the haunted forests, the enchanted gardens, the achievements of ena- moured knights, and the smiles of rescut^d princesses.

In none of the works of Milton is bis pecu- liar manner more happily displayed than in the Allegro and the Penseroso. Ii is impossi- ble to conceive that the mechanism of lanjrua^e can be brought to a more exquisite degrre of perfection. These poems differ from others as ottar of roses differs from ordinao' rosis


wmter, the dose packed esseace from the thin diluted nuxtnre. They are indeed not so much poems, as collections of hints, from each of which the reader is to make out a poem for liimselt Every epithet is a text for a canto.

The Comus and the Samson Agonistes are works, which, though of very different merit, offer some marked points of resembhuice. They are both Lyric poems in the form of Plays. There are pernaps no two kinds of composition so essentially dissimilar as the drama and the ode. The business of the dr»- matist is to keep himself out of sight, and to let nothing appear but his characters. As soon as he attracts notice to his personal feel- ings, the illusion is broken. The effect is as unpleasant as that which is produced on the .stage by the yoice of a prompter, or the en- trance of a scene-shifter. Hence it was that the tragedies of Byron were his least success- ful performances. They resemble those pasta- board pictures invented by the friend of child- ren, Mr. Newberry, in which a single movable head goes around twenty different bodies ; so that the same face looks out upon us succes- sively, from the uniform of a hussar, the furs of a judge, and the rags of a beggar. In all the characters, patriots and tyrants, haters and lovers, the frown and sneer of Harold were discernible in an instant But this species of egotism, though fatal to the drama, is the inspi- ration of the ode. It is the part of the lyric poet to abandon himself, without reserve, to his own emotions.

Between these hostile elements many great men have endeavoured to effect an amalgama- tion, but never with complete success. The Greek drama, on the model of which the Sam- son was written, sprung from the Ode. The dialogue was ingrafted on the chorus, and naturally partook of its character. The genius of the greatest of the Athenian dramatists co- operated with the circumstances under which tragedy made its first appearance. iBschylus was, head and heart, a lyric poet In his time, the Greeks had far more intercotirse with the East than in the days of Homer ; and they had not yet acquired that immense superiority in war, in science, and in the arts, which, in the following generation, led them to treat the Asiatics with contempt From the narrative of Herodotus, it should seem that they still looked up, with the veneration of disciples, to Egypt and Assyria. At this period, accord- ingly, it was natural that the literature of Greece should be tinctured with the Oriental style. And that style, we think, is clearly discernible in the works of Pindar and JBschy- lus. The latter often reminds us of the He- brew writers. The book of Job, indeed, in conduct and diction, bears a considerable re- semblance to some of his dramas. Considered as plays, hts works are absurd : considered as choruses, they are above all praise. It, for instance, we examine the address of Clytem- oestra to Agamemnon on his return, or the de- scription of the seven Argive chiefs, by the principles of dramatic writing, we shall in- stantly condemn them as monstrous. But, if we forget the characters, and think only of the poetry, we shall admit that it has never been

surpassed in energy and magnificence. So- phocles made the Greek drama as dranuuic aa was consistent with its original form. His portraits of men have a sort of similarity ; but it is the similarity not of a painting, but of a bas-reliefl It suggests a resemblance ; but it does not produce an illusion. Euripides at- tempted to carry the reform further. But it was a task far beyond his powers, perhaps be- yond any powers. Instead of correcting what was bad, he destroyed what was excellent He substituted crutches for stilts, bad sermons for good odes.

Milton, it is well known, admired Euripides highly; much more highly than, in our opinion, he deserved. Indeed, die caresses, which this partiality leads him to bestow on ^ sad Elec- tra*s poet," sometimes reminds us of the beau- tiful Queen of Fairy-land kissing the long ears of Bottom. At all events, there can be no doubt that this veneration for the Athenian, whether just or not, was injurious to the Sam- son Agonistes. Had he tsiken JBschylus for his model, he would have given himself up to the lyric inspiration, and poured out profusely all the treasures of his mind, without bestow^ ing a thought on those dramatic proprieties which the nature of the work rendered it im- possible to preserve. In the attempt to recoik- cile things in their own nature inconsistent, he has failed, as every one must have failed. We cannot identify ourselves with the characters, as in a good play. We cannot identify our- selves with the poet, as in a good ode. The conflicting ingredients, like an acid and an alkali mixed, neutralize each other. We art by no means insensible to the merits of this celebrated piece, to the severe dignity of the style, the graceful and pathetic solemnity of the opening speech, or the wild and barbaric melody which gives so striking an effect to the choral passages. But we think it, we confess, the least successful effort of the genius of Milton.

The Comus is framed on the model of the Italian Masque, as the Samson is framed on the model of the Greek Tragedy. It is, cer- tainly, the noblest performance of the kind which exists in any language. It is as far su- perior to the Faithful Shepherdess, as the Faithful Shepherdess is to the Aminta, or the Aminta to the Pastor Fido. It was well for Milton that he had here no Euripides to mis- lead him. He understood and loved the litera- ture of modern Italy. But he did not feel for it the same veneration which he entertained for the remains of Athenian and Roman poetry, consecrated by so many lofty and endearing recollections. The faults, moreover, of his Italian predecessors were of a kind to which his mind had a deadly antipathy. He could stoop to a plain style, sometimes even to a bald style; but false brilliancy was his utter aver- sion. His Muse had no objection to a russet attire; but she turned with disgust from th^ finery of Guarini, as tawdry, ana as paltry as the rags of a chimney-sweeper on May-day. Whatever ornaments the wears are of massive gold, not only dazzling to the sight, but capable of standing the severest test of the crucible.

Milton attended in the Comu.« to the distinc 2


t*on which he neglected in the Samson. He made it what it ought to be, essentially lyrical, anil dramatic only in semblance. He has not attempted a frnitless struggle against a defect iiiheicni in the nature of that species of com- position; and he has, therefore, succeeded, M-herever success was not impi>ssibte. The speeches must be read as majestic soliloquies; and he who so reads them will be enraptured with their eloquence, their sublimity, and their music. The interruptiims of the dialogue, however, impose a constraint upon the writer, and break the illusion of the reader. The finest passages are those which are lyric in form as well as in spirit **l should much commend," says the excellent ^ir Henry Wol- ton, in a letter to Milton, " the tragical part, if the lyrical did not ratrish me with a certain dorique delicacy in your songs and odes, where- unio, I most plainly confess to you, I hare seen yet nothing parallel in our language." The criticism was jusL It is when Milton escapes from the shackles of the dialogue, when he is discharged from the labour of uniting two in- congruous styles, when he is at liberty to in- dulge his choral raptures without resen*e, that he rises even abore himself. Tlien, like his own Good Genius, bursting from the earthly firm and weeds of Thyrsis, he stands forth in celestial freedom and t>eauty ; he seems to cry exultingly,

*• Now my laHk «n»ooihIy done, I ean fly, or I ean run,*'

to skim the earth, to soar above the clouds, to bathe in the Elysian dew of the rainboW, and to inhale the balmy smells of nard and Cassia, which the winds of the zephyr scatter through the cedared alleys of the Hespcrides.*

There are several of the min»)r pi)ems of Milton on which we would willingly make a few remarks. Still more willingly would we enter into a detailed examination of that ad- mirable poem, the Paradise Regained, which, strangely enough, is scarcely ever mentioned, except as an instance of the blindness of that parental afleciion which men of letters bear :4iwardH the offspritig of their intellects. That Milton was mistaken in preferring this work, excellent as it is, to the Paradise Lost, we must readily admit. But we are sure thai the .superiority of the Paradise Lost to the Para- dise Ucgained is not more decided than the ftnperiority of the Paradise Regained to every n«»em which has since made its appearance, but our limits prevent us from discussing the p<iint at length. We hasten on ui that extraor- dinary production, which the general suffrage oi critics has placed in the highest class of iiiiinan compositions.

The only poem ot modern times which Can

tiler** «ti!rnnl Piinimrr dwells. Ami w**»i winrtii with nniiiky wing, Ahniit the eeddred nlleyn flinr Nurd and c«»«lii*s haliiiy •ui«ll« : irb (here with humid b<»\^ Wfiier* the ndoMiiv bniik*, thiit blow Flowern of more mint led hue Thrni her i»urlle<t wcurf can *hnw. And dteiirhen with liHyslan dew, (l.ipi. inortalii. if your ear* l»e true,) ll*^p nf hyacitith* and ro»e«, Wliere youn|> Adoni* of! repoaea, tfaxlng wdl of h!a deep wcund.**

be compared with the Paradise Lost, is tb$ Divine Comedy. The subject of Milton, ifl some points, resembled that of Dante ; but h^ has treated it in a widely diiferent manner. We cannot, we think, better illitstrate oar opinion respecting our own great poet, than by contrasting him with the father of Tuscan literature.

The poetry of Milton differs from that of Dante, as the hieroglyphics of Egypt differed from the picture-writing of Mexico. The images which Dante employs speak for them- selves :~-they stand simply for what they are. Those of Milton have a signification which is often