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"Ill worthie I such title should belong
To me transgressour, who for thee ordained
A help, became thy snare; to me reproach
Rather belongs, distrust and all dispraise."

Immediately after the fall they had been "neither self-condemning," but now they are both condemning themselves. All of Eve's love for Adam has returned and blossoms out in those elegant lines:

"But now lead on;

In me is no delay; with thee to goe,

Is to stay here; without thee here to stay,

Is to go hence unwilling; thou to me

Art all things under Heav'n, all places thou,
Who for my wilful crime art banisht hence."

From the time of repentance on to the end of the poem, we admire Eve much more than we do Adam. The angel's curse upon Adam is greater than that of Eve. Only four lines are devoted to Eve's condemnation, while twelve are given to Adam. But the end finds the pair again in love, though Paradise is lost. They leave their once blessed home just as they had entered it; for,

"They hand in hand with wand'ring steps and slow
Through Eden took their solitary way."

Having seen something of Milton's attitude towards Eve, the woman who is not entirely good, and yet who is not entirely bad, let us look at his second type, Mary. In Paradise Regained, Mary is wholly good; there is no particle of evil in her. She is pictured as the perfection of all that a woman should be. Yet, in spite of this high conception, Milton treats the Virgin very differently from the way she was treated in the Middle Ages. The catholic conception of Mary had been one of adoration and worship. She was the intercessor for man. Mediæval literature paints her as the source of inspiration for doing good. She was the "spiritual dynamo" of the Middle Ages. Such views are expressed by Dante in his Vita Nuova, by Chaucer in his The Prioress's Tale, and in The Boy Killed by a Jew for Singing Alma Redemptoris Mater. In both of these latter poems, the little

boy is killed because he persisted in singing the Virgin's praises, but his people hallow his memory because he died in the service of his holy mother. So strong is the child's love for the mother of Christ that his song, "Alma redemptoris mater," clings to his lips after death has overtaken him. Rosetti's The Blessed Damozel is a modern example of this catholic idea. Milton gives an entirely different idea of Mary in Paradise Regained. She is not an intercessor for man, but is merely the mother of Christ, who is man's intercessor. She is pure and holy, but not divine. Mary repudiates the catholic conception of her being man's intercessor when she says,

"High are thy thoughts

O Son, but nourish them and let them soar
To what height sacred virtue and true worth
Can raise them, though above example high;
By matchless Deeds express thy matchless Sire.
For know, thou art no Son of mortal man,
Though men esteem thee law of Parentage,
Thy Father is the Eternal King, who rules
All Heaven and Earth, Angels and Sons of men,
A messenger from God foretold thy birth
Conceiv'd in me a Virgin, he foretold

Thou shouldst be great and sit on David's Throne
And of thy Kingdom there should be no end."

Mary instructs her Son that he descends from a divine sire, but says nothing of his mother being divine. Her attitude toward her child is ever one of love and motherly care. While Milton has pictured her as entirely human, and has left off the glamour of divine quality, he has woven a pretty story around one of the most humanly attractive characters in literature.

Finally, let us look at the third of Milton's female characters, Dalila, the one altogether bad. She is a treacherous and deceitful wife. Other women have overthrown their husbands for passion and for jealousy, but this one cruelly betrays hers for money. While Samson turns completely against his wife after she betrays him, yet he is ever conscious of the fact that it is partly due to his weakness that he is in his present condition. His great secret was in his own hands,

"But weakly to a woman must reveal it,
O'ercome with importunity and tears,
O impotence of mind, in body strong!
But what is strength without a double share
Of Wisdom

The remembrance of being duped by the tears and entreaties of this woman continually torments him and makes his slavery all the more bitter and hard. He says of himself:

"Fool, have divulg'd the secret gift of God
To a deceitful woman."

In his despondency, the chorus comes to console him by telling him that he is not the only man who has been betrayed by an unfaithful wife. He accepts their kind words, and determines to remedy his situation. Before the fall, he failed to stand against the temptation of his wife but he can combat it now. Her beauty and

"Foul effeminancy held me yok't
Her Bond-slave

How can he combat the evil of this woman and make amends for his former error? He can do it by breaking with her, and that is just what he does. When Dalila tries to reinstate herself with him, he answers:

"My Wife, my Traitress, let her not come near me."

Milton's solution for a break such as this was separation by divorce; nothing else would suffice. That liberty which Milton ever carried nearest his heart could not be destroyed by husband and wife living together in an unfriendly state. All of his writings on divorce and divorce laws have this theme for their central thought.

When Dalila learns of her husband's determination to abandon her, she becomes desperate and determines to win him over, but he casts her aside:

"Out, out, Hyaena; these are thy wonted arts,
And arts of every woman false like thee,
To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray.
Then as repentant to submit, beseech,
And reconcilement move with feigned remorse,
Confers, and promise wonders in her change,
Not truly penitent, but chief to try

Her husband, how far urg'd his patience bears,
His virtue or weakness which way to assail.”

Finding that she can not prevail upon Samson to break his resolution, she concludes:

"In argument with man a woman ever

Goes by the worse, whatsoever be her cause."

So saying, she haughtily goes off as the chorus passes judgment,

"She's gone, a manifest serpent by her sting,
Discover'd in the end, till now conceal'd."

In this highly dramatic poem Milton is plainly concerned with the problem of the proper relations of husband and wife. What is to be done when they fail to agree? Samson's actions answer the question. He had rather live in slavery and shame than with an evil woman. He cast her off forever:

"Thou and I long since are twain;
Nor think me so unwary or accurst
To bring my feet again into the snare
Where once I have been caught."

And, in its characteristic manner, the chorus adds:

"What pilot so expert but needs must wreck
Embarqu'd with such a Stears-mate at the helm?"

This sorely tossed pilot can be saved by one device and that is the device of separation. The law allows him to do it, therefore he decides to do it. Mutual love and agreement are the only basis of real happiness according to Milton.

Summarizing Milton's conception of women, we notice the following points: The Romantic attitude appearing in his early sonnets, disappears under his reaction against Cavalier amorousness, in his later sonnets. In Paradise Lost we see his most fully drawn portrayal of a woman, in whom he illustrates subordination, dependence, mutuality of interest with her mate, intellectual inferiority, industrial and domestic perfection, kindness and satisfaction with her present condition.

In Paradise Regained we have in Mary a woman demonstrating her ability to recognize the great importance of the divine mission of her Son, and at the same time encouraging him in that mission. We also see the emotional side of Mary when she is anxious lest some harm befall her Son. When His absence is unexplained she is purely human in her maternal instinct. In Dalila, Milton pictures a woman wholly bad. She is bent on using her charms to ruin her credulous husband; and Milton boldly asserts that for such a woman there is but one cure, and that is swift separation from her. This is his way of getting out of such a predicament.

A. P. Elliott.

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