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Spirit he invoked to lift up his voice ex- waist, and ringlets “wanton," which surecept when its tongue of fire sat upon him. ly they had no call to be in Eden ;-- this . The transport of poetic inspiration has is what we find in Milton's first womin, not, since his death, visited any man in whom Charlotte Brontë says he never Great Britain, - it would be safe to add 'saw. Against Dante, on the other hand, in the world, — in ardency so intense and and in favour of Milton, we have to put sustained as his. In him there dwelt also the traces of middle-age childishaess, a tone of what, though allied to the poetic , the nursery goblinism, grotesquerie, and inspiration, is distinct from it — namely, allegoric wire-drawing, which are preseat the religious inspiration. He would have in the Divine Comedy. The sustained been a great poet in any age ; but had grandeur which has made “ Miltonic" a he not lived in the age of the Puritans, convertible term with “sublime” is far he might have been more like a Greek above all that. dramatist, less like a Hebrew prophet. Who is Milton's hero? It is rather an The religious inspiration of Puritanism awkward question. He cannot be Adam, was probably stronger in Cromwelt. who is passive both in his fall and in his
The triumph of the Puritan poet was rise. Milton cannot have intended it to as signal as the triumph of the Puritan be Christ, for he makes Him the unquesking. No Anglican minstrel is nearly tioned hero of Paradise Regained. It equal to Milton: neither the Temple nor will be difficult to come to any other conthe Christian Year will compare with clusion than that the hero, unintentionally Paradise Lost. We naturally place it side of course, is Satan. The two first books by side with the poem in which Dante are most Miltonic, and their interest cenenshrined Catholicism. Dante excels tres in the fiend. Throughout the poem Milton in tenderness ; in intimate knowl- Satan is the speaker of lines which it is edge of the human heart ; in the delinea- impossible not to recognize as charactertion of all passions, except revenge and istically Miltonic:ambition, pride and hatred. Dante has
The mind is its own place, and in itself the infallible Shakespearian touch when
Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. ever his theme is love ; Milton in the like What matter where, if I be still the same? case paints with great literary dexterity and with a frank audacity of sensuous The conception of Satan is wonderful colour which would fain be passionate and in breadth and simplicity. He refuses to tender ; but he never gets really beyond submit to God, but there is in him otherpainted tenderness.
wise no subtle or malignant badness. He
never stoops to the whine of the mean, For contemplation he, and valour formed;
discontented rebel. He does not accuse For softness she, and sweet attractive grace; He, for God only, she, for God in him :
“heaven's potentate.” He admits that he His fair large front, and eye sublime, declared has been ungrateful. No glimpse of hope Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks,
encourages hiin to give in. “Evil," he Round from his parted forelock manly hung says, “ be thou my good ;” but the sense Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders that evil must be his good agonizes him, broad.
and it is by an effort that he is wicked. She, as a veil, down to the slender waist, He admires Adam and Eve. He “could Her unadorned golden tresses wore
love" them; and that for a reason which Dishevelled, but in wanton ringlets waved
contradicts all one's conceptions of diaAs the vine curls her tendrils, which implied Subjection, but required with gentle sway,
bolic logic, to wit:And by her yielded, by him best received,
so lively shines Yielded with coy submission, modest pride, In them Divine resemblance, and such grace And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay.
| The hand that shaped them on their shape
hath poured. These celebrated and very noble lines embody Milton's inexorable sentence up- He has to argue himself up to the bitter on woman as man's inferior and play. cruelty of injuring such helpless, harmless thing. He is perhaps on one occasion, or creatures. He is out of sight the most even on two, more happy in his treatment moral of known devils. Job's tempter is of love ; but this is, to say the least, a insolent to Jehovah, and viciously and critical instance; and does he not egre- slanderously spiteful towards the man of giously fail ? For Eve's face he has not | Uz. Compared with lago, or with a word ; not one syllable for the crimson Goethe's “spirit that always denies," who of the lip, for the ravishment of the smile. devises refined tormentings for the innoConventional golden tresses, slender Icent Gretchen, the one drop of comfort op
whose burning tongue is the torture-throb | human reason, awaking from its sleep, of human hearts, Milton's devil is honest clearing its eyes, daring to scan the dusky and virtuous. It is with a sense of actual heavens with its own optical instruments. amazement that we remark the length to Homer had no surmise, the most distant, which, in Paradise Regained, Milton per- of the claims of the aggressive intellect mits Satan to appeal to our pity, as al in its moods of aspiration and of doubt. being whose fate it is to be bad, but who Nor did Dante think of justifying the clings desperately to the memory and tra- ways of God to men. But of Protestantdition of goodness, and gropes in his ism in its later phases, this has been a fallen nature for relics of virtue as a miser leading problem. And it is a legítimate might grope in the embers of his burnt as well as a sublime problem, however house for some dearest treasure: - difficult; for when reason has once de
tected Aaws in the conception of God, Though I have lost
worship is to that extent consciously Much lustre of my native brightness, lost To be belov'd of God, I have not lost
rendered to an idol. To love, at least contemplate and admire,
| The question then arises whether MilWhat I see excellent in good or fair,
ton has succeeded or failed in solving Or virtuous; I should so have lost all sense.
the problem he states. Paradise Lost is
essentially an idealization of that theolThese words are addressed by Satan to ogy which Augustine and Calvin foundChrist, and in the reply made by the Sav-ed, mainly, though not exclusively, on iour, there is no assertion that they are those parts of the writings of Paul in hypocritical.
which the inspiration, perfectly divine, in all this, however, Milton is true to which the greatest of the Apostles dePuritanism. His Satan incarnates with rived from Christ, is modified if not errorless accuracy the Puritan conception chilled by a sense of the necessity of recof superlative sin. Satan has rebelled onciling Christ and Gamaliel, and of against the Divine sovereignty. This is tacking on the new Christian ethics of enough. For this his brow must be universal love and brotherhood to the old knit up in corrugations of eternal scheme of Judaism. “By one man sin pain.
entered into the world, and death by It is not so easy at the first glance to sin":- this is Paul's starting point see that the task which Milton imposes when his inspiration stoops from its on himself at the outset of the poem, “to heavenliest transports, and becomes conjustify the ways of God to man,” is dis- sciously logical and argumentative. We tinctly Puritan. The Puritan idea, in its should be launched into controversies most conspicuous manifestations, was which have no definable limit, were we to much rather that the ways of God to man inquire what, in strict critical estimate, require no justification. God's part is to Paul meant by these words, and by the declare His will, man's to do it ; submis- contrast with which he follows them up sion, not criticism, becomes the finite be- between Adam and Christ. But it aping. And yet Milton struck no false pears on the very face of the passage, note in the first lines of the Puritan that he writes in an expansive and exultpoem. The explicit and unquestioning ant mood, finding in Adam a represensubmission to the Divine will of such tative, on the widest conceivable scale, of men as Milton, Vane, and Cromwell, was man under sinful and deathful condiassociated with perfect conviction that tions, as contrasted with Christ, repreGod is Infinite Justice and Infinite Love. senting man under righteous and deathLogical proof of the fact they might | less conditions. “Where sin abounded, never ask; they certainly did not make grace did much more abound: that as their faith dependent on their power to sin hath reigned unto death, even so comprehend the scope and bearings of might grace reign through righteousness the Divine Government; but of the fact unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our itself, they had absolutely no doubt. And Lord.” Saint Paul, who even in his diaif we view Milton's statement of his pur- lectical mood was an inspired apostle of pose in connection with the general move- Jesus, probably intended nothing more, ment of the Reformation, we shall find it by his allusion to the sin of Adam, than to be impressively right. Deep among to put in the strongest form accessible the impelling forces of the Reformation, to him, his main contention against the unacknowledged at the time, and by exclusive tendency of his Judaizing opmany still rejected and denied, but per- ponents, to wit, that every human being haps most potent of all, was the energy of 'is invited to receive eternal life in Christ.
• Out of this and a few other misapplied | Adam's sin. His death on the cross passages of Scripture, rose the terrific redeems man from death, doctrine of the Fall, the background of
as many as offered life all Augustinian theology. Through the
Neglect not, and the benefit embrace sin of Adam, all generations of men come
By faith not void of works. into the world under the wrath and curse of their Creator, blackened and blasted For these death becomes, in soul and body, hating good and loving
like sleep, evil. Their very virtues, to use the A gentle wafting to immortal life. words of Article XIII. of the Church of And at last “ the woman's Seed,” revealed England, “have the nature of sin.” The in the clouds from heaven. will " dissolve proper subject of the great Puritan poem Satan
Satan with his perverted world," was the Fall, and Milton shows by his choice of a name, that this was essen
then raise tially his idea. In answering, therefore,
efore From the conflagrant mass, purged and refined,
New heavens, new earth, ages of endless date, the question whether he succeeds or
Founded in righteousness, and peace, and love; fails in “justifying,' — in reconciling
To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss. with intelligible and tenable principles of justice, — “the ways of God to man,” we
f God to man." we This is formally sufficient in relation to turn to his account of the Fall.
the plan of Milton's poem. Satan is Adam takes the apple rather than re- vanquished. The world regains its primal linquish the wife whom God had given splendour among the stars of God, or him :
glows with a fairer brightness than at
first. Supposing, as Milton does not in With thee
terms forbid us to suppose, that every Certain my resolution is to die :
man who fell in Adam has the offer of How can Í live without thee? How forego Thy sweet converse, and..ove so, dear oned, from the redeemed company only be bis
ed redemption in Christ and is excluded To live again in these wild woods forlorn ? from the redeemed company only by his
own conscious refusal to be saved, we Eve had been beguiled by Satan in forme
rm cannot deny that the vindication of Provi. of the serpent. Of course a serpent dence has?
dence has been successful. And becould talk only by miracle, and, strange
yond question this general impression of to say, Milton represents Eve as sharp Christ's work was the inspiring impulse enough to discern this fact :
of the whole religious movement which Thee, Serpent, subtlest beast of all the field originated with Luther and Calvin and I knew, but not with human voice endued; sent its last great tidal wave into Puritan Redouble then this miracle, and say
England. It was exultant trust in Christ How cam'st thou speakable of mute, and how their king, in whose strength they could To me so friendly grown above the rest
conquer death and hell, that made the Of brutal kind, that daily are in sight? soldiers of Cromwell invincible. The serpent explains that the charming But it is a circumstance of fateful imgift of speech has been obtained by eat- port that the triumph of Christ, as deing of the tree of knowledge; and with picted by Milton, is mainly in a new miraculous eloquence as his “creden- heaven and earth, the present heaven tials,” convinces her that she also will and earth having been burnt up. And be benefitted by partaking of the fruit. as salvation is mainly future, so there is Then follows the “mortal taste" which a state of damnation of which, in the “brought death into the world and all concluding portions of his poem, Milton our woe.” Eve's mistake in interpreting says little, but which, as realized for us the first recorded miracle laid her de- in the hell of the earlier books, is of suscendants to the latest ages under “God's preme importance. Take the delineawrath and curse," and made them lia- tions of hell out of Paradise Lost, and the ble “to all the miseries of this life, to whole work will collapse. Into the greatdeath itself, and to the pains of hell forest poem of Protestantism, as into the ever.” These are the words of the greatest poem of Catholicism, enters the Shorter Catechism, the most affection- unutterable horror which, for nearly two ately revered of all the productions of thousand years, has sat as a nightmare the Puritan Synod of Westminster. The on the breast of Christendom. Neither fall is followed in the scheme of Puritan in Homer nor in Shakespeare have we theology, and in the conception of Mil- anything corresponding to the Dantesque ton's poem, by redemption. Christ obeys or Miltonic hell. Afar, on the dawning the law, and suffers the penalty due to rim of European civilization, — written
as on the golden bars of morning,— are | The hell of Dante and Milton is the rethe Homeric poems. In modern times, sult of two processes; the intense and representing all that western civilization gloating selection of the imagery of fire ; has felt, thought, and hoped for, we have and the addition of a device, purely grathe works of Shakespeare. It is man as tuitous, not countenanced in the remotest he is, man on his green world, with its hint of Scripture, by which fire is made summer showers and its wintry blasts, to yield a maximum of pain. This device its trees that flush ruddy and white with Milton borrowed from Dante ; we may blossom to be smitten into fruitlessness by read Milton's description of it. the east wind, its gleamings of beauty at
The parching air morning and evening with long grey Burns frore, and cold performs the effect of fire. hours of toil between, that forms the sub-1 Thither, by happy-footed Furies haled. ject of both. In both there is the shadow. / At certain revolutions all the damned Homer knows of Hades and its pallid, Are brought; and feel by turns the bitter melancholy ghosts. Shakespeare is for change ever wondering and pondering over the Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more secrets of sorrow and of evil, of the night
fierce, and of the grave ; and between and amid From beds of raging fire, to starve in ice the ripplings of his infinite laughter, there
Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine
Immovable, infixed and frozen round, are snatches of tenderest wail. But
Periods of time, thence hurried back to fire. neither in Homer nor in Shakespeare is there anything corresponding to the And so there is no prospect that “our Dantesque or Miltonic hell. The sad torments may become our elements." look of the Greeks towards the future is From whom Dante got this truly devilish essentially the cloud on the face of the notion I know not; but there is, I think, happy child at the thought of being sent | proof in his poem that there was a taint to bed, attesting and measuring his pres- of cruelty in his own nature ; and indeed, ent joy. A prison-house of the universe, if we can trust the evidence of Roman in which ingenious, exquisite, elaborate relentlessness to Carthage, of the gladiatorture is inflicted to all eternity, whether torial shows, and of the savage treatment as described in revolting and grotesque of animals in modern Italy, the taint detail by Dante or in more sublime but must be pronounced general in the Italian not less appalling imagery by Milton, is race. It seems likely that poetry, howso monstrous a conception, that we may ever noble in execution, which is insepadoubt whether works of which it forms rably associated with a stupendous horan integral part will be permanently en-ror and incredibility, will be outgrown shrined among the household treasures and left behind by the race, and that of mankind. These limnings, especially both the Divine Comedy and Paradise Dante's, perpetuate the most ghastly | Lost will sooner or later be peremptorily horrors of those infernal old times (which refused a place among the constellations fools call good), before judicial and penal beside the poems of Homer and the dratorture was abolished ; particulars of mas of Shakespeare. agony such as the gnawing of the tongue The spiritual depths of Christianity, in torment, the very thought of which the divine power of kindness and selfalmost drives us, who are beginning to sacrifice, were fully fathomed neither in be Christ-like enough to cease to be in-| Paradise Lost nor in Paradise Regained. human, mad, but which were doubtless | In these dwells the inspiration of Puritan familiar to those accustomed to the inci-battle, but there were gentler tones in the dents of ancient executions. One of the angel's song above the fields of Bethlemain themes of Jesus Christ's teaching hem. Deeper Christian tones than any was the majesty, the severity, the un-in Milton are to be found scattered changeableness of God's moral govern- through the hymnology of the Christian ment, as contrasted with the levity of the Churches, through the works of Goethe, world's judgments. In enforcing this great and in Mrs. Browning's Drama of Exile idea He used a variety of illustrations. and Tennyson's In Memoriam. These, Some of these quite dispense with the in- however, are single tones : no such body strumentality of fire ; as the leading one of of Christian music, no poems so great, the exclusion of guests from a marriage-so monumental, as Paradise Lost and supper. Some of them almost pointedly | Paradise Regained, have been produced negative permanence of fire ; for the use since the time of Milton. of fire in burning the weeds that have To the man himself we turn, for one injured a crop is to make an end of them. / brief glance before laying down the pen.
In the evil times of the Restoration, in
From The Graphic the land of the Philistines, Agonistes but
INNOCENT: unconquerable, the Puritan Samson ended
A TALE OF MODERN LIFE. his days. Serene and strong ; conscious that the ambition of his youth had been BY MRS. OLIPHANT, AUTHOR OF “SALEM CHAPEL," achieved. He begins the day with the
" THE MINISTER'S WIFE," " SQUIRE ARDEN," ETC. Hebrew Bible, listens reverently to words
CHAPTER XLI. in which Moses or David or Isaiah spake of God. But he attends no church, be
AN UNPOPULAR MARRIAGE. longs to no communion, and has no form
The marriage of Innocent took place of worship in his family ; notable circum
on one of the first days of February, a stances, which we may refer, in part at least, to his blindness, but significant of
day of the “seasonable" kind, with black
skies, a dark grey atmosphere, and ocmore than that. His religion was of the
casional downpours of steady rain. The spirit, and did not take kindly to any
raw cold penetrated to one's bones and form. Though the most Puritan of the Puritans, he had never stopped long in
one's heart, and even the show of costly the ranks of any Puritan party, or given
flowers which had been procured for the satisfaction to Puritan ecclesiastics and
occasion, failed to make the rooms iook
cheerful. Innocent herself, in her white theologians. In his youth he had loved
bridal dress and veil, was like the snowthe night; in his old age he loves the pure sunlight of early morning as it glim
drops. Her head drooped a little, her mers on his sightless eyes. The music
cheeks were not much less pale than her which had been his delight since child
dress. She was not a blushing, or a hood has still its charm, and he either
smiling, or a weeping bride. Her eyes sings or plays on the organ or bass-violin
were full of a certain awe, sometimes every day. In his grey coat, at the door
varied by alarm, when the prospect of of his house in Bunhill Fields, he sits on
leaving home came uppermost; but she clear afternoons ; a proud, ruggedly ge
was passive in all things, gentle and nial old man, with sharp satiric touches in
grateful, as calm in her new position as his talk, the untunable fibre in him to
she had been in the former. The only the last. Eminent foreigners come to
one thing she had been anxious about, see him ; friends approach reverently,
the one trouble and mystery in her life, drawn by the spiendour of his discourse.
had been set right (as she thought) by It would range, one can well imagine, in
her bridegroom's exertions. He had glittering freedom, like “arabesques of
taken upon him to arrange all that: to lightning," over all ages and all literatures.
explain it, to make everything clear; and He was the prince of scholars ; a memory
Innocent, trustful and ignorant, had not of superlative power waiting, as submis
doubted his power to do so. Mrs. Eastsive handmaid, on the queenliest imagi
wood's anxious assurances that she was nation. The whole spectacle of ancient
mistaken, that her belief about Amanda civilization, its cities, its camps, its land- / was a delusion, had never made any imscapes was before him. There he sat in pression on
te in pression on the girl. But when Sir his grey coat, like a statue cut in granite.
Alexis accepted her story as true, and He recanted nothing, repented of noth- pledged himself to set everything right, ing. England had made a sordid failure, the practical pa
sordid filure the practical part of her mind, which was but he had not failed. His soul's fellow- \in reality the only intellectual part of her ship was with the great Republicans of
which had any power, accepted his as
Why Greece and Rome, and with the Psalmist surances, and trusted in them. and Isaiah and Oliver Cromwell.
should any one bid her believe that it PETER BAYNE.
was a delusion? Innocent knew that it was no delusion; but at the same time she was quite simple and foolish enough to believe that Sir Alexis could set it all
Ito rights, without inquiring how. He · FAITH AND REASON. — Faith says many would give her a caressing answer when things concerning which reason is silent, but she asked him about it, and tell her that nothing which reason denies; it is often above all was being settled ; and in her ignoreason, but never contrary to reason.
rance she believed him, and was lightened of her burden. The wedding was to be a very quiet one, partly (as it was announced) because of Innocent's health –