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Equally free ; for orders and degrees
Jar not with liberty, but well consist.

Who can in reason then, or right, assume 795 Monarchy over such as live by right

His equals {-if in power and splendour less,
In freedom equal :—or can introduce
Law and edíct on us, who without law

Err not? much less, for this to be our Lord, 800 And look for adoration ; to the abuse

Of those imperial titles, which assert
Our being ordained to govern—not to serve !'

“ Thus far his bold discourse, without control,

Had audience ; when, among the Seraphim, 805 Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal adored

The Deity, and divine commands obeyed,
Stood up, and in a flame of zeal severe
The current of his fury thus opposed :

[" "O argument blasphemous, false, and proud ! 810 Words) which no ear ever to hear in Heaven

Expected, least of all from thee, ingrate,
In place thyself so high above thy peers ! |
Canst thou with impious obloquy condemn

The just decree of God, pronounced and sworn, 815 That to his only Son, by right endued

With regal sceptre, every soul in Heaven
Shall bend the knee, and in that honour due
Confess him rightful King ?] Unjust, [thou say'st,]

Flatly unjust, to bind with laws the free, 820 And equal over equals to let reign,

799. Much less for this to be our Lord. This passage has hopelessly puzzled all commentators. Perhaps the sense is this —Who can introduce law or edict on us, much less, can he impose a law that this, i.e., the Messiah, should be our King. So we may say,

make arrangements for to come, i.e., that he may come. For the expression,

much less, it is true, we rather expect much more. But the first sentence, though interrogative in form, is really negative; and the much less is therefore a constructio ad sensum ; as if the words ran thus,—God can introduce no law or edict on us, much less can he appoint him to be our Lord.

805. Than whom.-See Gr.

One over all with unsucceeded power.
Shalt thou give law to God ? shalt thou dispute
With him the points of liberty, who made

Thee what thou art, and formed the powers of Heaven 825 Such as he pleased, and circumscribed their being ?

Yet, by experience taught, we know how good,
And of our good, and of our dignity,
How provident he is—how far from thought

To make us less; bent rather to exalt
830 Our happy state, under one head more near

United. But, to grant it thee unjust,)
That equal over equals monarch reign : 1
Thyself, though great and glorious, dost thou count,

Or all angelic nature joined in one,
835 Equal to him, begotten Son) by whom,

As by his word, the mighty Father made
All things, even thee ; | and all the Spirits of Heaven
By him created in their bright degrees ;]

Crowned them with glory,] and, to their glory, named 840 Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers,

Essential Powers ;] nor by his reign obscured,
But more illustrious made ;] since he the head,
One of our number thus reduced, becomes ; |

His laws our laws ;] all honour to him done 845 Returns our own.]

Cease then this impious rage,
And tempt not these ; but hasten to appease
The incensed Father, and the incensed Son,
While pardon may be found in time besought.'

“ So spake the fervent angel ; but his zeal

821. Unsucceeded power is that to which no one can succeed, therefore eternal.

831. To grant it thee (scil. to be) unjust. This may be taken as an adjunct to the Principal Sentence.

832. Over equals (scil. as) monarch reign.

837. And all the spirits.—The sentence beginning here looks like a second adjective Sent.; but the poet forgot its subordination under by whom, wbich alone would justify

the omission of the subject; then substituting by him to by whom understood, he carries on the sentence as a principal one, without, however, introducing a new subject, which is strictly required.

841. Supply are we before obscured.

842. Law binds the governor and the governed into one fellowship.

843. One of our number thus reduced, in Apposition with he.

850 None seconded, as out of season judged,

Or singular, and rash : whereat rejoiced
The Apostate, and, more haughty, thus replied :
" "That we were formed, then, I say'st thou ? | and the

work
Of secondary hands, by task transferred
855 From Father to his Son ?] strange point, and new !

Doctrine which we would know whence learned : who saw
When this creation was ? Remember'st thou
Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being ?

We know no time I when we were not as now; | 860 Know none before us—self-begot—self-raised

By our own quickening power,) when fatal course
Had circled his full orb; | the birth mature
Of this our native Heaven ; ethereal sons.)

Our puissance is our own ; our own right hand 865 Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try

Who is our equal : then thou shalt behold
Whether by supplication we intend
Address, and to begirt the Almighty throne

Beseeching, or besieging. This report, 870 These tidings carry to the anointed King ;

And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.'

“ He said ; and, as the sound of waters deep, Hoarse murmur echoed to his words applause

Through the infinite host ; nor less for that 875 The flaming Seraph fearless, though alone,

Encompassed round with foes, thus answered bold :

“o alienate from God, O spirit accursed, Forsaken of all good ! I see thy fall

Determined, and thy hapless crew involved 880 In this perfidious fraud ; contagion spread

Both of thy crime and punishment. Henceforth

860. Self-begot, self-raised, birth mature, ethereal sons.-All in Apposition with us.

861. Fatal course. --The course of fate. 867. Supply to after intend.

869. Beseeching or besieging. -A pun upworthy of high epic style.

880. Contagion spread, governed by I see understood.

No more be troubled how to quit the yoke
Of God's Messiah ; those indulgent laws

Will not be now vouchsafed ; other decrees 885 Against thee are gone forth without recall :

That golden sceptre, which thou didst reject,
Is now an iron rod, to bruise and break
Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise :

Yet not for thy advice, or threats, I fly
890 These wicked tents devoted ; lest the wrath

Impendent, raging into sudden flame,
Distinguish not : for soon expect to feel
His thunder on thy head, devouring fire !

Then,) who created thee, lamenting, learn,) 895 When,) who can uncreate thee, | thou shalt know.')

“ So spake the Seraph Abdiel, faithful found
Among the faithless-faithful only he
Among innumerable false ; | unmoved,

Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified,
900 His loyalty he kept~his love_his zeal : |

Nor number nor example with him wrought
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind,
Though single. From amidst them forth he passed,
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustained
Superior, nor of violence feared aught ;
And, with retorted scorn, his back he turned
On those proud towers to swift destruction doomed."

889. A comma must be put after threats. 890. Before Icst supply I ny, evolved from the preceding clause.

SECTION V.

SHAKSPERE'S MERCHANT OF VENICE.

In passing from Milton to Shakspere, we are going from one hemisphere of poetical genius to another. There have been hitherto two, and only two, great developments of literature, so far at least as our western civilisation is concerned, and those are the classical and the modern. The literatures of ancient Greece and Rome formed the only great educating element all through the middle ages. To these the whole mind of Europe looked back as the basis of its entire culture, and as the models to which all future literary efforts must conform. Hence we have not only in poetry, but equally also in art, in philosophy, in grammar, and in style, generally, a series of imitations, more or less successful, all based upon the productions of ancient authors,—these imitations being confined, not merely to the middle ages, but coming down to the last century, and, in some respects, even to our own times. This whole class of literature we may regard as the natural fruit of the ancient civilisation.

In opposition to this, we find, that from the period when the modern European nations first began to cast off the garments of barbarism, and to take their position in the plan and order of human culture, indigenous efforts at poetic and other literary productivity have sprung up from time to time, and formed an ever increasing body of purely native literature. This we find to be the case, more especially amongst the Teutonic nations of England and Ger. many. Grotesque as this literature at first appeared, and clothed as it was

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