1694 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Milton

Joseph Addison, in "Account of the Greatest English Poets" Miscellany Poems the Fourth Part (1694) 321-23.



But Milton next, with high and haughty stalks,
Unfetter'd in Majestic Numbers walks;
No vulgar Heroe can his Muse ingage;
Nor Earth's wide Scene confine his hallow'd Rage.
See! see, he upward Springs, and Tow'ring high,
Spurns the dull Province of Mortality;
Shakes Heav'ns Eternal Throne with dire Alarms,
And sets the Almighty Thunderer in Arms.
What-e'er his Pen describes I more then see,
Whilst ev'ry Verse array'd in Majesty,
Bold, and sublime, my whole attention draws,
And seems above the Criticks nicer Laws.
How are you struck with Terrour and Delight,
When Angel with Arch-Angel Cope's in Fight!
When Great Messiah's out-spread Banner shines,
How does the Chariot Rattel in his Lines!
What sounds of Brazen Wheels, what Thunder, scare,
And stun the Reader with the Din of War!
With Fear my Spirits and my Blood retire,
To see the Seraphs sunk in Clouds of Fire;
But when, with eager steps, from hence I rise,
And view the first gay Scenes of Paradise;
What Tongue, what words of Rapture, can express
A Vision so profuse of pleasantness.
Oh had the Poet ne'er profan'd his Pen,
To varnish o'er the Guilt of Faithless Men,
His other works might have deserv'd applause!
But now the Language can't support the Cause;
While the clean Current, tho' serene and bright,
Betray's a bottom odious to the sight.