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“Look once pore, ere we leave this specular

mount, Westward, much nearer by south-west ; behold Where on th' Ægean shore a city stands, Built nobly, pure the air, and light the soil : Athens, the Eye of Greece, Mother of Arts And Eloquence, native to famous wits Or hospitable, in her sweet recess, City or suburban, studious walks and shades. See there the olive grove of Academe, Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long ; There flow'ry hill Hymettus, with the sound Of bees' industrious murmur, oft invites To studious musing ; there Ilissus rolls His whisp'ring stream. Within the walls then view The schools of ancient sages : his who bred Great Alexander to subdue the world, Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next ; There shalt Thou hear and learn the secret pow'r Of Harmony, in tones and numbers hit By voice or hand ; and various measured verse, Æolian charms and Dorian lyric odes, And his who gave them breath, but higher sung, Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer called, Whose poem Phoebus challenged for his own : Thence what the lofty grave tragedians taught In Chorus or Iambic, teachers best Of moral prudence, with delight received In brief sententious precepts, while they treat Of fate, and chance, and change in human life, High actions and high passions best describing : Thence to the famous orators repair, Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence Wielded at will that fierce democratie,

Shook th' arsenal, and fulmined over Greece

To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne :
To sage Philosophy next lend Thine ear,
From Heav'n descended to the low-roofed house
Of Socrates ; see there his tenement,
Whom well inspired the oracle pronounced
Wisest of men ; from whose mouth issued forth
Mellifluous streams, that watered all the schools
Of Academics old and new, with those
Surnamed Peripatetics, and the sect
Epicurean, and the Stoic severe :
These here revolve, or, as Thou lik'st, at home,
Till time mature Thee to a kingdom's weight;
These rules will render Thee a king complete
Within Thyself, much more with empire joined."

Here we are in the full spirit of the Renaissance, with its love of Greek philosophy, poetry, art ; and it is noteworthy that this love is now presented as a temptation, and is expressed through Satan's mouth. And what does the Saviour reply? He says:

" Think not but that I know these things; or think
I know them not; not therefore am I short
Of knowing what I ought : he who receives
Light from Above, from the Fountain of Light,
No other doctrine needs, though granted true ;
But these are false, or little else but dreams,
Conjectures, fancies, built on nothing firm.
The first and wisest of them all professed
To know this only, that he nothing knew ;
The next to fabling fell, and smooth conceits ;
A third sort doubted all things, though plain sense ;
Others in virtue placed felicity,
But virtue joined with riches and long life ;
In corporal pleasure he, and careless ease ;

The Stoic last in philosophic pride,
By him called virtue ; and his virtuous man,
Wise, perfect in himself, and all possessing
Equal to God, oft shames not to prefer,
As fearing God nor man, contemning all
Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life,
Which when he lists he leaves, or boasts he can,
For all his tedious talk is but vain boast,
Of subtle shifts conviction to evade.
Alas! What can they teach and not mislead,
Ignorant of themselves, of God much more,
And how the world began, and how Man fell
Degraded by himself, on Grace depending ?
Much of the Soul they talk, but all awry,
And in themselves seek Virtue, and to themselves
All glory arrogate, to God give none ;
Rather accuse Him under usual names,
Fortune and Fate, as one regardless quite
Of mortal things. Who therefore seeks in these
True Wisdom, finds her not; or, by delusion,
Far worse, her false resemblance only meets,
An empty cloud. However, many books,
Wise men have said, are wearisome ; who reads
Incessantly, and to his reading brings not
A sp'rit and judgment equal or superior,
(And what he brings what needs he elsewhere seek ?
Uncertain and unsettled still remains,
Deep versed in books and shallow in himself,
Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys
And trifles for choice matters, worth a sponge,
As children gath'ring pebbles on the shore.
Or, if I would delight My private hours
With music or with poem, where so soon
As in our native language can I find
That solace ? All our Law and story strewed
With hymns, our psalms with artful terms inscribed,
Our Hebrew songs and harps, in Babylon
That pleased so well our victors' ear, declare
That rather Greece from us these arts derived ;
Ill imitated, while they loudest sing
The vices of their deities, and their own,
In fable, hymn, or song, so pers'nating
Their gods ridiculous, and themselves past shame.
Remove their swelling epithets, thick laid
As varnish on a harlot's cheek, the rest,
Thin sown with aught of profit or delight,
Will far be found unworthy to compare
With Sion's songs, to all true tastes excelling,
Where God is praised aright, and God-like men,
The Holiest of Holies, and His Saints,
(Such are from God inspired, not such from thee),
Unless where moral virtue is expressed
By light of Nature, not in all quite lost.
Their orators thou then extoll'st, as those
The top of eloquence ; statists indeed,
And lovers of their country, as may seem;
But herein to our Prophets far beneath,
As men Divinely taught, and better teaching
The solid rules of civil government,
In their majestic unaffected style,
Than all the orat’ry of Greece and Rome.
In them is plainest taught and easiest learnt
What makes a nation happy and keeps it so,
What ruins kingdoms, and lays cities flat ;
These only with our Law best form a king."

Here is the stern and uncompromising answer of the Puritan to all the seductions of pagan beauty and lore. It is strange indeed to find the great scholar-poet in this mood of recantation : his attack upon the classical literature which he had once loved so passionately, and which had done so much to fashion his own art—his denunciation of the Greek philosophy which he had once so justly honoured—his protest in favour of extreme narrowness in intellectual interests : these have a curious and even a pathetic significance. Mr. Stopford Brooke says that in this speech “ Milton put only one side of his mind into the mouth of Christ; the other side we have had already in the mouth of Satan." Possibly so. But such a division of the argument is surely a striking evidence of the supremacy of the Puritan in him at the time.

The volume in which “Paradise Regained ” appeared in 1671 contained another production of great importance—“Samson Agonistes” (that is, “Samson the Wrestler''). In this Milton returned to the dramatic form which he had abandoned in favour of the epic in the writing of Paradise Lost”: the work being modelled faithfully upon the lines of Greek tragedy. A prefatory note—“Of that Sort of Dramatic Poem called Tragedy "-sets forth his apology for experimenting in a kind of literature which the Puritans had always denounced and which the fearful profligacy of the contemporary stage made them now abhor more intensely than ever. Tragedy, as it was anciently composed," he urges,

" hath been ever held the gravest, moralest, and most profitable of all other poems ; and again, after certain quotations in support of his position, “This is mentioned

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