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“ The civil wars in England for a long time well, grown old in solitude, blind and poor deprived Milton of the leisure necessary to exe- should be unknown or disregarded in a court, cute his great design. He seems to have been which, after the austerity of the government of born with a strong passion for liberty. This the Protector, had adopted all the gallaniry of sentiment prevented him from uniting with any the court of Lewis the Fourteenth, and when of the sects whose ambition it was to rule over. only effeminate poetry was relished, such as the his country. Neither would he submit to the voluptuousness of Waller, the satires of the Earl yoke of any human opinion, and there was no of Rochester, and the wit of Cowley. church that could boast of reckoning Milton “An unquestionable proof that he had but litamong its members. But he did not observe tle reputation, is found in the fact that he had this neutrality in the civil wars between the great difficulty in finding a bookseller to publish king and his parliament. He was one of the bis Paradise Lost.' The very name was unbitterest enemies of the unfortunate king Charles fortunate, for every thing that had any reference the First. He also became a favorite of Crom- to religion was out of fashion. At last Thompwell's, and by a fatality not uncommon, this son gave him thirty dollars for his work, which zealous republican became the tool of a tyrant. has since brought to his heirs more than a huo. He was secretary to Oliver Cromwell, Richard dred thousand. And this publisher was still so Cromwell and to the Parliament which continu- much afraid of making a bad bargain, that he ed till the time of the Restoration. The En- stipulated that only half of these, fifteen dollars, glish made use of his pen to justify the death of should be paid, if there was not sufficient en ! their king and to reply to a book which Charles couragement for a second edition of the poem, the Second had caused to be written by Sau
which second edition Milton had never the conmaise on the subject of that tragic event. Never
solation to see. He remained poor and obscure, was there a better cause, and never one worse
and his name is added to the list of genius perpleaded on both sides. Saumaise wrote like a secuted by fortune. pedant on the death of the king on the scaffold, " "Paradise Lost' was then neglected in Louon the royal family wandering over Europe, and don, and Milton died still in the faith that it even concerning all the kings of Europe who would one day acquire renown.
At length Lord were concerned in this quarrel. Milton, like a Sommers and Dr. Atterbury, since bishop of Ropoor declaimer, advocated the cause of a victo- chester, were desirous that England might boast rious people, who boasted of having condemned of one epic poem. They persuaded the heirs of their Prince according to law. The memory of Thompson to get out a fine edition of Paradise this remarkable revolution will never be effaced Lost.' Their approbation influenced many othfrom the minds of man; whereas the works of Afterwards Mr. Addison wrote a formal Saumaise and Milton on this subject, have al. treatise to prove that this poem equalled tbose ready been buried in oblivion. Milton, whom of Homer and Virgil. The English began to the English at the present day look upon as a persuade themselves that this was true, and the divine poet, was certainly a very indifferent prose reputation of Milton was established. writer.
“ Milton may have imitated many parts of “ Milton was fifty-two years old at the restor- the great number of Latin poets, who in all ages ation. He was included in the amnesty that have written on the same subject, such as the Charles the Second signed in favor of the ene- • Adamas exul,' or Adam exiled, by Grotius, an. mies of his father, but he was named in the other by an author named Mazenius, and others same amnesty and declared incapable of holding unknown to the common reader. He might any office under the government. He then be- have borrowed from Tasso bis description of gan his epic poem at an age when Virgil had hell, the character of Satan, the council of der. finished his. Searcely, however, had he set ils. But such imitation is not plagiarism ; it himself to the work, when he was deprived of is, to use the words of Boileau, wrestling with his sight. He found bimself poor, deserted, and the original; it is enriching one's language with blind, but he was not discouraged. He took the beauties of others; it is nourishing genius nine years to compose his Paradise Lost. He and promoting its growth by the genius of othhad at that time but little reputation; the wits ers; it is following the example of Virgil who of the court of Charles the Second, either knew imitated Homer. The contest between Milton him not, or esteemed him not. It is not a mat. and Tasso must have been, however, unequal, ter of surprise that the former secretary of Crom- for the English language cannot attain to the
harmony of Italian verse. Nevertheless Milton splendid gold capitals, wherein to address the has been very happy in imitating the most beau- devils, to whom he had just before conveniently tiful pissiges. It is true that what in Tasso is spoken in ihe open air. And to complete the merely an episode, or digression from the poem, absurdity, the big devils who would have taken is with Milton the main subject. It is no less up too much room in this infernal parliament true that without the picture of the loves of are transformed into pigmies that every one may Adam and Eve as well as those of the Renaud sit at his ease without being crowded. and Amadis of Tasso, the devils of both the po- “After the dissolving of the council Satan ets would have met with very little success. prepares to go out from the abyss. He finds
“I think that there are two causes why the death at the door who disputes his egress. They 'Paradise Lost' will always succeed; the first is are on the point of coming to blows, when Sin, the interest which the reader takes in two inno. a monster of the female sex, out of whom come cent and happy beings, who have been seduced dragons, interposes between ther. Stop! 0 and rendered miserable by a powerful and envi- my father,' says she to the devil; 'stop! O my ous being; and the other is the beauty of the son,' says she to death. “And who are you,' details.
replies the devil, 'who call me your father?' 'I " The French laughed when they were told am sin,' replied the monster, ‘I was your prothat the English had produced an epic poem, the geny when you were in heaven. I came out of subject of which was the devil fighting with God the left side of your head; you then became in and a snake persuading a woman to eat an ap- love with me; we cohabited togeiher; when ple; they thought it impossible from such ma- you rebelled I seduced many of the cherubim terials to make any thing above a farce. I was from their allegiance; when war was waged in the first who made the French acquainted with heaven, we were expelled together. In hell I certain passages from Milton and Shakspeare. brought forth this monster that you see; he is M. du Pré of St. Maur, gave a prose translation your son and mine. Scarcely was be born than of this singular poein. The French were aston- he violated his mother, and is the father of all ished to find in a subject which appeared so bar. these children that you see who pass in and out ren, such richness of imagination. They ad- of iny body and prey upon my entrails.' mired the majestic features in which the poet “ After this disgusting and hideous descriphad painted the Deity, and the still more bril- tion, Sin opens for Satan the gates of hell. He liant character with which he had invested Sa. leaves the devils on the banks of Phlegethon, tan. They read with great delight the descrip- the Styx and Lethe ; some play on the harp; tion of the garden of Eden and the innocent loves some wrestle in the lists; some dispute on the of Adam and Eve. And here it is to be remark- subject of grace and predestination. Satan in ed that in all other poems love is esteemed a the mean time pursues his journey in imaginary weakness, but in Milton it is a virtue. Milton space. He falls into vacuum and would still be with a chaste hand has known how to raise that falling, if a cloud had not borne him alost again. veil with which others have concealed the de- He arrives in the regions of Chaos, he passes lights of this passion; he transports the reader through the paradise of fools, (that is a part to that garden of pleasure; he seems to make which cannot be translated in French), he finds him participate in its pure joys; he does not in this paradise, indulgences, beads, cowls and rise above human nature, but only above corrupt scapularies of monks. human nature, and as there is no example of “Such are some of the fancies which every such love by any other poet, so there is nowhere sensible reader will condenin, and the poem else such a poem.
must in other parts have great beauties, to en“But all judicious critics, of which there are sure its being read, in spite of this accumulation many in France, concur in the opinion that the of disgusting folly. devil is too prominent, he speaks too often and “ The war between the good and evil angels too long, on the same subject. While they ad- has appeared to critics, a digression where the wire many sublime ideas, they judge that some sublime is merged in the extravagant. The are overstrained, and that the author has become marvellous itself ought to have some show of puerile in endeavoring to make them appear prudence; it should have an air of probability, grand. They condemn as weak the idea of Sa. and be treated with taste. Judicious critics have tan building a chamber of the Gothic order in found in this instance neither truth, probability, the midst of bell, with coluinns of brass and nor reason. They have considered it a great
want of taste, that Milton should have taken other hindrance to our poetry. Our nation, essuch pains to describe the character of Raphael, teemed by strangers as so light, and who judge Michael, Abdiel, Uriel, Moloch, Nisroch and As- us by a few fops, is in fact, of all people the most toroth, all imaginary beings, of whom the reader sober and serious when they take the pen in can form no conception, and in whom he can hand. Method is the prevailing character of our take no interest. When Homer speaks of his writers. Truth is the object, history is preser. gods, he characterizes them by their attributes, red to romance.
Nobody now reads the Celias which are known; but the Christian reader is and Astreas. If a few novels now and then apdisposed to smile when one seeks to become ac- pear to amuse frivolous youth, men of learning quainted with Nisroch, Moloch and Abdiel. Ho- disregard them. Our taste admits not the fan. mer has been reproached for his long and useless cies of epic poetry. He who should employ the harangues and the jests of his heroes. How
gods of the pagans or the saints of the calendar, then can we pass over unnoticed the harangues would be equally laughed at. Juno and Venus and bantering of the angels and devils during must remain with the Greeks and Romans. St. the war in heaven. These same critics have Genevieve and St. Denis have no business out maintained that Milton disregarded the probable of the legends. The horns and tail of the devil in placing cannon in the army of Satan, and in are at the best subjects for raillery; they are no having put swords in the hands of invulnerable longer above contempt. spirits; for in one instance when a certain an- “ The Italians manage to get along with gel cuts in twain a certain devil, the two halves saints; and the English have conferred great of the devil are in a moment re-united.
reputation on the devil, but what they consider “ It was no doubt these great faults that indu
sublimity we look upon as extravagance and ced Mr. Dryden to say in his preface to the absurdity. I remember twelve years ago when Eneid, that Milton was little better than Chape- I spoke to Monsieur Malzieux on the subject of lain and Le Moine. But the inimitable beau
my Henriade; he said, you are undertaking a ties of Milton caused the same Dryden to say, work for which the French have no taste, they ! that nature had formed Milton out of the souls
have no head for epic poetry.' And then be adof Homer and Virgil. This is not the first time ded, if you were to write as well as Monsieurs that the same work has received contradictory Racine and Despreaulos, it is a chance whether judgments. In approaching Versailles on the it would be read.' » side of the court, you see a mean looking build- Monsieur Voltaire concludes his essay by say. ing with seven windows in front, and every ing, “ It is in conformity to the spirit of the age thing in the worst taste imaginable. When it that I have chosen for my poem a real instead is viewed from the side of the gardens, we be. of a fabulous hero; actual battles instead of chibold an immense palace whose beauties redeem merical warfare. I have employed no fiction it from these defects.
that was not an actual illustration of a truth. I “When I lived in London, I had the boldness can say nothing more on the subject, than that to compose in English a short essay on epic of which enlightened critics are aware. It is poetry, in which I took the liberty to say that for the 'Henriade' to speak in its own defence, good French judges would not fail to remark all and for time alone to disarm envy." the defects of which I have spoken. What I Thus far writes M. Voltaire. In closing this predicted has come to pass, and critics in that communication I would only remark, that the country have decided, as far as a translation judgment of Monsieur Malzieux, the friend to would warrant, that “Paradise Lost' is a work whom he submitted his intention of writing the rather remarkable than natural, abounding more Henriade, was wrong in its decision. That poin imagination than in grace, in boldness than em has been read and received the highest con• in choice, whose subject is altogether ideal, and sideration from the French nation, and not from seems not to be made for man."
them only, for every one conversant with the Monsieur Voltaire then goes on to speak of French language, in all countries, has hailed it the difficulties that lie in the way of epic poetry as a master-piece of epic composition. among the French, and makes some remarks on the character of the French nation, for which
Milwaukie, Wis. they have had but little credit.
“ The taste for geometry which in our time Good men are earth's angels, ministering to has superseded that of the belles lettres, is an
the afflicted childen of humanity.
C. F. LE FEVRE.
THE TREASURES OF THE HEART.
Joy to the heart which confidently trusts
In God our Father's kind, unceasing care, Whose changeless love it never more distrusts,
But feels His joyous presence every where. Joy to that heart ! because it fainteth not,
When adverse cares press hard upon the soul ; Whatever woes may come, whate'er our lot,
We know that God the tempest can control.
Happy are they who see in life's deep ills
A God employed that chastens for our good ; Who know the hand that chastens, also heals,
And ever feel deep cause for gratitude.
0! envy not the poverty of soul Veiled in the splendor which the world be
stows; But learn that riches never can console
The heart, which bitter anguish overflows.
Joy to the heart that humbly worships Him,
In spirit-breathings, free, without control, And feels His presence in the twilight dim,
Or midnight deep, when startling thunders roll.
We know His voice from man's, and follow Him
Rejoicing through the storms that chequer life, Him, who will save his people from their sins,
In whom, we know, we have eternal life.
If therefore, we study the laws of the universe, or analyze the independent action of men, we shall find both referring to a common end. The toils and sufferings of mankind sufficiently attest with what earnestpess they have labored, consciously or not, to solve the great riddle of existence. The history of the world is a mournful record of this sad truth. But if it teaches us no other lesson, it at least shadows forth a sublime and glorious destiny. How then is it possible for an earnest soul to discover that sublime purpose, that hidden truth, which is the complete and final answer to all our yearpings and aspirations ? It is of but little consequence whether we examine the history of the race, or interrogate the individual, the reply, if it be pursued with faithfulness, is ever the same. Most men prefer the broader field of investigation ; the universe with its magnificence attracts the senses; there is something genial and inviting in the earth and skies. Long before the soul can make itself heard, the intellect through the medium of the senses, is curiously speculating upon the material wonders by which we are surrounded. And thus it happens, (and thus it must ever be, till man becomes wiser,) that the outward, transient, perishable, becomes investigated and known, while the workings of the hidden power, the mysterious intuence that gives to all things significance, is a marvel and a terror.
And thus, a smiling landscape, or a gorgeous sunset fills the beholder with a delight un. speakable. But if he closes his senses, and contemplates himself, he is appalled by bis ignorance, and weeps, because, though at home, he is a stranger.
With thoughts such as these I sat down one day, that I might contemplate more attentively the mystery of life, and discover, if such might he possible, that for which I had as yet yearned in vain. I said to myself, though my life has been humble, it still must have a meaning; and though, if were removed from the world, or never had been, no one would miss me-no one would weep for me ;-still was I not called into existence in vain. How then shall I begin? Shall I scan with carefulness the pages of the world's sad history written in tears and blood ? Shall I seek for the meaning symbolized by the material creation ; or attend to the workings of my own soul, and con the lesson taught by ex. perience? What then is it I would know, since reason and faith alike teach that life has a meaning; that our joys and our sorrows, our mistakes and our achievements, point to an end of which
(WE publish with great pleasure the following contribution from our old friend B. B. Bowen, who, though known as a blind brother, sees a great many things much better than millions who can use the sunlight. He sends this essay with the remark that he feels an affection for the Repository, specially because herein was published his first composition for the public eye. That composition was a story of the Blind, and it was re-published in an Edinburgh journal as a something remarkable in the literature of the Blind. The following shows the growth of our friend's mind, and it will be read with great pleasure.
THE ULTIMATE SECRET: OR SELF
Life has its ultimate secret, its great and final purpose to which all things are subordinate. VOL. XX.
they are but the means; this result, this some- It is however by no means easy to realize ihis; thing to which all things are tending, is that I for when I read the history of past times, of the would know. In a word, I would comprehend / struggles and exploits of great and good menthe destiny of myself and my race.
it seems as if I were there with them. And I will not disguise to myself the difficulties moreover there are times, silent contemplative that beset the investigation I propose. The im- moments, when the past and the present seem possibility of expressing thought and feeling blended into one; and we feel or dream we al. through the medium of language; our ignor- ways have been, linked as fully to the past er. ance or inability to distinguish between the panse as to the future immensity. But having permanent and transient, the ephemeral and the a thought which requires a poet to express it, let eternal. The universe with its multiplied forms me commune with those early hours, that morgof beauty and grandeur, is indeed a sublime ex- ing of existence when the pure soul first looked pression of the hidden thoughts of the Deity. forth through the senses to survey its prison. And so too ought our creations to be a true re- house. What has memory to report of the Eden llection of our inward life. But because of our of my mundane exisience? I find only a mourndarkness and ignorance, they are not; for it will ful record of one dark calamity. Yes, wben be found of most men, that their being is better the curious and speculative soul, viewing from than their seeming. Hence it is that when we the windows of the body its own bright creaattempt to interpret our own heart by our ac- tions of ineffable beauty, it was saddened and tions, the result is a monstrous falsehood. darkened forever. As the young flower, when
In attempting then to solve the problem of it first opens its petals, is nipped by the frost, as life, we are carefully to examine causes and re.
a heart when full of love is crushed with sorrow, sults, and separate them from whatever is but so were the days of my infancy. To look for the creation of our ignorance and prejudice. I
the first time upon the human face all radiant will then, in the earnest endeavor to compre
with joy, to view for a moment the myriads of hend the meaning of my own life, reject what- beautiful objects which the blessed sunlight reever from helplessness or ignorance I have re
vealed, to scan with a child's curiosity the tipy ceived from abroad. I will carefully consider
flowers and the distant stars, and then to have every event, and assign to each its relative im- all veiled as with a dark pall forever, such was portance. I will recall each moment of joy and my fate! O, reader, could I tell you how many sorrow, and question them as to their meaning.
sorrowful hours, how many bitter tears, this And aided by no other light than that which
first misfortune of my life has caused me, --could streams forth from the soul, and actuated by no I tell you how often in my loneliness I hare other love than the highest of all loves--the love yearned and prayed, and agonized to see the of the truth, I will proceed to my self-imposed
beautiful in earth and sky, whatever might be task.
your own sorrows, you would pity me. It is a There is something in the life of every one common, but a delusive notion, that one deprir. that gives to it its distinctive character. This ed of any great blessing before he has become is as true as that we each have a distinc- capable of fully comprehending its uses, is no: tive destiny. It may be indeed, that all are affected by its loss. And so it is expected that tending to the same result. Yet viewed as we because I only possessed the power of vision for are in our isolation and imperfection, we each a short period of my existence, I should not rehave our separate aims. Thus in the world gret being deprived of it. Any expression of the soul is silenced and the senses absorb all our feeling, therefore, of sorrow or regret on my lise, one man pursues wealth, another power,
part, is regarded as a kind of affectation. But another fame. So when we are in a measure.
the truth is, that any impression made upon the freed from these phantoms, and begin to deal
mind through the external sepses, is never obwith realities, we find this idea of self, this indi
literated. The little child, when it first opens vidual tendency still plainly enough manifested. its eyes and gazes upon its mother's face, re.
Leaving these generalizations, I proceed at ceives her image in his heart. And though the once to the main object of my inquiry, forget
cold, stern hand of destiny should close his eyes ting all else, considering only myself. it may forever, ihe memory of the moment when he be that what seems meaningless and discon- saw that face, will go with him through life as nected, shall be but a part of a great and beau- a beautiful dream. Long afier, when the mothtiful whole. There was a time when I was not. er's gentle voice and tender sympathy shall have
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