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And Tiresias and Phineus, prophets old ;
There feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the

year
Seasons return; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But clouds instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Presented with a universal blank
Of Nature's works, to me expung'd and ras d,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou, celestial light,
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse; that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight."

Elsewhere he exclaims in not less pathetic strains:

*

“ If answerable style I can obtain

Of my celestial patroness, who deigns
Her nightly visitation unimplor’d,

* higher argument
Remains; sufficient of itself to raise
That name, unless an age too late, or cold
Climate, or years, damp my intended wing
Depress'd.”

How lofty must have been the intelligence of Milton, which could sustain this intercourse face to face with God, and the wonderful beings he has created! No man ever displayed a more sober and at the same time a more delicate genius. “It was,” says Hume,“ during a state of poverty, blindness, disgrace, danger, and old age, that Milton composed his wonderful poem, which not only surpassed all the performances of his cotemporaries, but all the compositions which had flowed from his pen during the vigour of his age and the height of his prosperity.” We actually distinguish in this poem, through the ardour of youthful years, the maturity of age and the gravity of misfortune; this imparts to “ Paradise Lost" an extraordinary fascination of old age and youth, of restlessness and peace, of sadness and joy, of reason and love.

PART THE FOURTH.

LITERATURE UNDER THE LAST TWO STUARTS.

COMPARISON

BETWEEN THE MEN AND EVENTS OF

THE ENGLISH AND

OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTIONS.

WERE we, on quitting Milton, to hasten, without any transition, to the writers who flourished under the last two Stuarts, we should fall from a greater height than the angels of “ Paradise Lost,” who were hurled from heaven to an immeasurable depth. We have, however, to take a retrospect of the revolution from which the poet had emerged, and to compare it with our own revolution : by bestowing some further consideration on the age of Milton, we shall insensibly descend to the reigns of Charles and of James. We feel riveted, as it were, to those days of 1649, remarkable for their affinity with our own time; we shall see, by the comparison of men and events, that our revolutionary days maintain over those of the English republic and Protectorship a signal, though too often a fatal, superiority.

The French revolution was surpassed in litera

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