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arrival in the newly-created universe, would possess great merit, did they not unfortunately remind us of the majestic simplicity of Milton. But there is often a sort of Ovidian point in the diction, which seems misplaced. Thus, Asmodeus tells us, that the devils, ascending from the lake of fire,

'Shake off their slumber first, and next their fear.

And, with Dryden's usual hate to the poor Dutchmen, the council of Pandemonium are termed,

Most High and Mighty Lords, who better fell
From heaven, to rise States General of hell.

There is one inconvenience, which, as this poem was intended for perusal only, the author, one would have thought, might have easily avoided. This arises from the stage directions, which supply the place of the terrific and beautiful descriptions of Milton. What idea, except burlesque, can we form of the expulsion of the fallen angels from heaven, literally represented by their tumbling down upon the stage? or what feelings of terror can be excited by the idea of an opera hell, composed of pasteboard and flaming rosin ? If these follies were not actually to be produced before our eyes, it could serve no good purpose to excite the image of them in our imaginations. They are circumstances by which we feel that scenic deception must be rendered ridiculous, and ought to be avoided, even in a drama intended for perusal only, since they cannot be mentioned without exciting ludicrous combinations. Even in describing the primitive state of our first parents, Dryden has displayed some of the false and corrupted taste of the court of Charles. Eve does not consent to her union with Adam without coquettish apprehensions of his infidelity, which circumstances rendered rather improbable; and even in the state of innocence, she avows the love of sway and of self, which, in a loose age, is thought the principal attribute of her daughters. It may be remembered, that the Adam of Milton, when first experiencing the powers of slumber, thought,

I then was passing to my former state
Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve.

The Eve of Dryden expresses the same apprehensions of annihila tion upon a very different occasion. These passages form a contrast highly favourable to the simplicity and chastity of Milton's taste. The school logic, employed by Adam and the angels in the first scene of the fourth act, however misplaced, may be paralleled, if not justified, by similar instances in the "Paradise Lost."

On the other hand, the "State of Innocence" contains many passages of varied and happy expression peculiar to our great poet; and the speech of Lucifer in Paradise (Act third, scene first,) approaches in sublimity to his prototype in Milton. Indeed, altered as this poem was from the original, in order to accommodate it to the taste of a frivolous age, it still retained too much

fancy to escape the raillery of the men of wit and fashion, more disposed to "laugh at extravagance than to sympathise with feelings of grandeur." The "Companion to the Theatre" mentions. an objection, started by the more nice and delicate critics, against the anachronism and absurdity of Lucifer conversing about the world, its form and vicissitudes, at a time previous to its creation, or, at least, to the possibility of his knowing any thing of it. But to this objection, which applies to the "Paradise Lost" also, it is sufficient to reply, that the measure of intelligence, competent to supernatural beings, being altogether unknown to us, leaves the poet at liberty to accommodate its extent to the purposes in which he employs them, without which poetic licence it would be in vain to introduce them. Dryden, moved by this, and similar objections, has prefixed to the drama, "An Apology for Heroic Poetry," and the use of what is technically called "the machinery" employed in it.

Upon the whole, it may be justly questioned, whether Dryden shewed his judgment in the choice of a subject which compelled an immediate parallel betwixt Milton and himself, upon a subject so exclusively favourable to the powers of the former. Indeed, according to Dennis, notwithstanding Dryden's admiration of Milton, he evinced sufficiently by this undertaking, what he himself confessed twenty years afterwards, that he was not sensible of half the extent of his excellence. In the "Town and Country Mouse," Mr Bayes is made to term Milton "a rough unhewn fellow ;" and Dryden himself, even in the dedication to the Translation from Juvenal, a work of his advanced life, alleges, that, though he found in that poet a true sublimity and lofty thoughts, clothed with admirable Grecisms, he did not find the elegant turn of words and expression proper to the Italian poets and to Spenser. In the same treatise, he undertakes to excuse, but not to justify Milton, for his choice of blank verse, affirming that he possessed neither grace nor facility in rhyming. A consciousness of the harmony of his own numbers, and a predilection for that kind of verse, in which he excelled, seemed to have encouraged him to think he could improve the " Paradise Lost." Baker observes but too truly, that the "State of Innocence" recals the idea reprobated by Marvell in his Address to Milton:

Or if a work so infinite be spann'd,
Jealous I was, lest some less skilful hand,
Such as disquiet always what is well,

And by ill imitating would excel,

Might hence presume the whole Creation's day
To change in scenes, and shew it in a play.

The "State of Innocence" seems to have been undertaken by Dryden during a cessation of his theatrical labours, and was first published in 1674, shortly after the death of Milton, which took place on the 8th of November in the same year,






AMBITION is so far from being a vice in poets, that it is almost impossible for them to succeed without it. Imagination must be raised, by a desire of

* Mary of Este, daughter of the Duke of Modena, and second wife to James Duke of York, afterwards James II. She was married to him by proxy in 1673, and came over in the year following. Notwithstanding her husband's unpopularity, and her own attachment to the Roman Catholic religion, her youth, beauty, and innocence, secured her from insult and slander during all the stormy period which preceded her accession to the crown. Even Burnet, reluctantly, admits the force of her charms, and the inoffensiveness of her conduct. But her beauty produced a more lasting effect on the young and gallant, than on that austere and stubborn partizan; and its force must be allowed, since it was extolled even when Mary was dethroned and exiled. Granville, Lord Lansdowne, has praised her in "The Progress of Beauty;" and I cannot forbear transscribing some of the verses, on account of the gallant spirit of the 7

fame, to a desire of pleasing; and they whom, in all ages, poets have endeavoured most to please, have

author, who scorned to change with fortune, and continued to admire and celebrate, in adversity, the charms which he had worshipped in the meridian of prosperity.

And now, my muse, a nobler flight prepare,
And sing so loud that heaven and earth may hear.
Behold from Italy an awful ray

Of heavenly light illuminates the day;
Northward she bends, majestically bright,
And here she fixes her imperial light.
Be bold, be bold, my muse, nor fear to raise
Thy voice to her who was thy earliest praise.
What though the sullen fates refuse to shine,
Or frown severe on thy audacious line;
Keep thy bright theme within thy steady sight,
The clouds shall fly before thy dazzling light,
And everlasting day direct thy lofty flight.
Thou, who hast never yet put on disguise,
To flatter faction, or descend to vice,
Let no vain fear thy generous ardour tame,
But stand erect, and sound as loud as fame.

As when our eye some prospect would pursue,
Descending from a hill looks round to view,
Passes o'er lawns and meadows, till it gains
Some favourite spot, and fixing there remains,
With equal ardour my transported muse
Flies other objects, this bright theme to chuse.
Queen of our hearts, and charmer of our sight!
A monarch's pride, his glory and delight!::
Princess adored and loved! if verse can give
A deathless name, thine shall forever live;
Invoked where'er the British lion roars,

Extended as the seas that guard the British shores.
The wise immortals, in their seats above,
To crown their labours still appointed love;
Phoebus enjoy'd the goddess of the sea,
Alcides had Omphale, James has thee.
O happy James! content thy mighty mind,
Grudge not the world, for still thy queen is kind
To be but at whose feet more glory brings,
Than 'tis to tread on sceptres and on kings.
Secure of empire in that beauteous breast,
Who would not give their crowns to be so blest?
Was Helen half so fair, so form'd for joy,

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Well chose the Trojan, and well burned was Troy.

*He had written verses to the Earl of Peterborough, on the Duke of York's marriage with

the Princess of Modena, before he was twelve years old.

been the beautiful and the great. Beauty is their deity, to which they sacrifice, and greatness is their guardian angel, which protects them. Both these are so eminently joined in the person of your Royal Highness, that it were not easy for any but a poet to determine which of them outshines the other. But I confess, madam, I am already biassed in my choice. I can easily resign to others the praise of your illustrious family, and that glory which derive from a long continued race of princes, famous for their actions both in peace and war: I can give up, to the historians of your country, the names of so many generals and heroes which crowd their annals, and to our own the hopes of those which you are to produce for the British chro

But ah! what strange vicissitudes of fate,
What chance attends on every worldly state!
As when the skies were sack'd, the conquer'd gods,
Compell'd from heaven, forsook their bless'd abodes;
Wandering in woods, they hid from dẹn to den,
And sought their safety in the shapes of men;
As when the winds with kindling flames conspire,
The blaze increases as they fan the fire;
From roof to roof the burning torrent pours,
Nor spares the palace nor the loftiest towers;
Or as the stately pine, erecting high
Her lofty branches shooting to the sky,
If riven by the thunderbolt of Jove,

Down falls at once the pride of all the grove;
Level with lowest shrubs lies the tall head,
That, rear'd aloft, as to the clouds was spread,

But cease, my muse, thy colours are too faint;
Shade with a veil those griefs thou can'st not paint.
That sun is set!

Progress of Beauty.


The beauty which inspired the romantic and unchanging admiration of Granville, may be allowed to justify some of the flights of Dryden's panegyric. I fear enough will still remain to justify the stricture of Johnson, who observes, that Dryden's dedication is an "attempt to mingle earth and heaven, by praising human excellence in the language of religion."

At the date of this address, the Duchess of York was only in her sixteenth year,



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