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Ambitious of preferment for its gold;
And well prepared, by ignorance and sloth,
By infidelity and love of world,
To make God's work a sinecure; a slave
To his own pleasures and his patron's pride :
From such apostles, oh, ye mitred heads,
Preserve the Church ! and lay not careless hands
On skulls that cannot teach, and will not learn.
Would I describe a preacher, such as Paul,
Were he on earth, would hear, approve, and own,
Paul should himself direct me. I would trace
His master-strokes, and draw from his design.
I would express him simple, grave, sincere ;
In doctrine uncorrupt; in language plain,
And plain in manner; decent, solemn, chaste,
And natural in gesture ; much impressed
Himself, as conscious of his awful charge,
And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds
May feel it too; affectionate in look,
And tender in address, as well becomes
A messenger of grace to guilty man.
Behold the picture !—Is it like ?—Like whom?
The things that mount the rostrum with a skip,
And then skip down again; pronounce a text;
Cry–hem; and reading what they never wrote,
Just fifteen minutes, huddle up their work,
And with a well-bred whisper close the scene !
In man or woman, but far most in man, And most of all in man that ministers And serves the altar, in my soul I loathe All affectation. 'Tis my perfect scorn; Object of my implacable disgust. What !—will a man play tricks, will he indulge A silly, fond conceit of his fair form, And just proportion, fashionable mien, And pretty face, in presence of his God? Or will he seek to dazzle me with tropes, As with the diamond on his lily hand; And play his brilliant parts before my eyes, When I am hungry for the bread of life?
He mocks his Maker, prostitutes and shames
His noble office, and, instead of truth,
Displaying his own beauty, starves his flock !
Therefore, avaunt all attitude, and stare,
And start theatric, practised at the glass !
I seek divine simplicity in him
Who handles things divine; and all besides,
Though learned with labour, and though much admired,
By curious eyes and judgments ill informed,
To me is odious, as the nasal twang
Heard at conventicle, where worthy men,
Misled by custom, strain celestial themes
Through the pressed nostril spectacle bestrid.
VIII.-ADAM AND EVE IN PARADISE.
John Milton, the son of a London scrivener, was born in 1608. He engaged
briskly in the religious and political controversies which agitated the latter part of the reign of Charles I., and the times of the Commonwealth ; and for several years after the execution of the king he acted as Latin Secretary to the Council of State. His noble poems, Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, were composed, in great part, after the Restoration of Charles II. in 1660. Milton had been blind for several years previous, and never recovered his sight. He died in 1674.
Now came still evening on, and twilight grey
Had in her sober livery all things clad:
Silence accompanied; for beast and bird-
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests
Were slunk-all but the wakeful nightingale ;
She all night long her amorous descant sung:
Silence was pleased. Now glowed the firmament
With living sapphires: Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length,
Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
When Adam thus to Eve :-“ Fair consort! the hour
Of night, and all things now retired to rest,
Mind us of like repose; since God hath set
Labour and rest, as day and night, to men
Successive; and the timely dew of sleep,
Now falling with soft slumbrous weight, inclines
Our eyelids: other creatures all day long
Rove idle, unemployed, and less need rest;
Man hath his daily work of body or mind
Appointed, which declares his dignity,
And the regard of Heaven on all his ways;
While other animals inactive range,
And of their doings God takes no account.
To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east
With first approach of light, we must be risen,
And at our pleasant labour, to reform
Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green,
Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown,
That mock our scant manuring, and require
More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth :
Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums,
That lie bestrewn, unsightly and unsmooth,
Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease;
Meanwhile, as nature wills, night bids us rest."
To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned :-
“ My author and disposer, what thou bidd'st,
Unargued I obey: so God ordains.-
God is thy law; thou, mine : to know no more
Is woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise !
With thee conversing, I forget all time;
All seasons, and their change—all please alike.
Sweet is the breath of morn-her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful evening mild; then silent night,
With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of heaven, her starry train :-
But neither breath of morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers ;
Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night,
With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon,
Or glittering star-light, without thee, is sweet!”
IX.-SATAN'S ADDRESS TO THE SUN.
(MILTON.) O THOU, that, with surpassing glory crowned, Look’st from thy sole dominion like the god. Of this new world !—at whose sight all the stars Hide their diminished heads —to thee I call, But with no friendly voice, and add thy name, O Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams, That bring to my remembrance from what state I fell,-how glorious once above thy sphere, Till pride, and worse, ambition threw me down, Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King ! Ah! wherefore? he deserved no such return From me, whom he created what I was, In that bright eminence, and with his good Upbraided none; nor was his service hard. What could be less than to afford him praise, The easiest recompense, and pay him thanks! How due! yet all his good proved ill in me, And wrought but malice : lifted up so high, I disdained subjection, and thought one step higher Would set me highest, and in a moment quit The debt immense of endless gratitudeSo burdensome; still paying, still to owe ! Forgetful what from him I still received; And understood not that a grateful mind By owing owes not, but still pays, at once Indebted and discharged; what burden then? Oh, had his powerful destiny ordained Me some inferior angel, I had stood Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised Ambition ! Yet why not? some other Power
As great, might have aspired; and me, though mean,
Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great
Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within
Or from without, to all temptations armed.
Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand ?
Thou hadst: whom hast thou, then, or what to accuse,
But Heaven's free love dealt equally to all ?
Be, then, his love accursed! since, love or hate,
To me alike, it deals eternal woe!
Nay, cursed be thou! since against his thy will
Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
Me miserable! which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
Which way I fly is Hell! myself am Hell !
And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep,
Still threatening to devour me, opens wide,
To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven !
Oh, then, at last relent! is there no place
Left for repentance ? none for pardon left ?
None left but by submission : and that word
Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame
Among the spirits beneath, whom I seduced
With other promises and other vaunts
Than to submit, boasting I could subdue-
The Omnipotent! Ah me! they little know
How dearly I abide that boast so vain ;
Under what torments inwardly I groan,
While they adore me on the throne of Hell.
With diadem and sceptre high advanced,
The lower still I fall ; only supreme
In misery.-Such joy ambition finds!
But say I could repent, and could obtain,
By act of grace, my former state-how soon
Would height recall high thoughts ; how soon unsay
What feigned submission swore! Ease would recant
Vows made in pain, as violent and void;
For never can true reconcilement grow
Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep-
Which would but lead me to a worse relapse
And heavier fall; so should I purchase dear