Notwithstanding the Messiah appears clothed with so much Terrour and Majesty, the Poet has still found means to make his Readers conceive an Idea of him, beyond what he himself was able to describe.
Yet half his Strength he put not forth,
His Thunder in mid Volley; for he meant
Not to destroy, but root them out of Heaven.
In a Word, Milton’s Genius, which was so great in it self, and so strengthened by all the helps of Learning, appears in this Book every way equal to his Subject, which was the most Sublime that could enter into the Thoughts of a Poet. As he knew all the Arts of affecting the Mind, [he knew it was necessary to give ] it certain Resting-places and Opportunities of recovering it self from time to time: He has [therefore] with great Address interspersed several Speeches, Reflections, Similitudes, and the like Reliefs to diversify his Narration, and ease the Attention of [the ] Reader, that he might come fresh to his great Action, and by such a Contrast of Ideas, have a more lively taste of the nobler Parts of his Description.
[Footnote 1: [is]]
[Footnote 2: [an]]
[Footnote 3: had he not given]
[Footnote 4: his]
* * * * *
Voluisti in suo Genere, unumquemque nostrum
quasi quendam esse
Roscium, dixistique non tam ea quae recta essent probari, quam quae
prava sunt fastidiis adhaerescere.
Cicero de Gestu.
It is very natural to take for our whole Lives a light Impression of a thing which at first fell into Contempt with us for want of Consideration. The real Use of a certain Qualification (which the wiser Part of Mankind look upon as at best an indifferent thing, and generally a frivolous Circumstance) shews the ill Consequence of such Prepossessions. What I mean, is the Art, Skill, Accomplishment, or whatever you will call it, of Dancing. I knew a Gentleman of great Abilities, who bewail’d the Want of this Part of his Education to the End of a very honourable Life. He observ’d that there was not occasion for the common Use of great Talents; that they are but seldom in Demand; and that these very great Talents were often render’d useless to a Man for want of small Attainments. A good Mein (a becoming Motion, Gesture and Aspect) is natural to some Men; but even these would be highly more graceful in their Carriage, if what they do from the Force of Nature were confirm’d and heightned from the Force of Reason. To one who has not at all considered it, to mention the Force of Reason on such a Subject, will appear fantastical; but when you have a little attended to it, an Assembly of Men will have quite another View: and they will tell you, it is evident