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appeared to him in a vision, commending his pious resolution, and advising him to seek a beautiful isle in the west, where, after a variety of dangers on earth and sea, he would reign in peace,
and be the progenitor of a noble race, who would profess a true and benevolent religion, and excel all other nations in learning, arts, and valour. At the same time, the spirit shewed him the picture of a lovely nymph who then ruled the island, attended by damsels of her own nature. The prince, animated by this vision, and deeply enamoured with the idea of the nymph, who, in the allegorical sense, represents Liberty, left the coast of Phænicia, and sailed towards Egypt.
These circumstances, being previous to the action, are not related till the second book : for, at the opening of the poem, after the usual introduction, the prince is brought with his companions to the mouth of the Nile; he lands, and advances towards the city of Memphis, but is met in a forest by Ramiel, in the shape of a venerable sage, who conducts him to the palace of the Egyptian king, where he sees the temple of science, the pyramids (then just begun), and other amazing edifices. After a splendid repast, he is desired to relate the motives of his voyage. — The subject of the next book has been already explained ; but it will be diversified, like all the rest, with several speeches, descriptions, and episodes.The third book begins with a consultation of the evil deities worshipped in Phænicia ; whose various characters are delineated. The debate is opened by Baal, who, in a furious speech, complains of the insult offered to their temples by the expedition of the Tyrians, and discourses with malignity on the future happiness of their descendants. Various stratagems are proposed, to obstruct their progress.
At last, Astartè offers to allure the chief with the love of pleasure, Mammon to tempt him with riches; Dagon promises to attack his fleet, Nisroc to engage him in a desperate war, Moloch
to assist his enemies by his enchantment, and Baat himself to subvert his government, by instilling into his mind a fondness of arbitrary power. In the mean while, the Tyrians are at sea, accompanied by Ramiel, who, in the character of a sage, had offered to conduct them; they are driven by a tempest back to Cyprus, where Astartè, in the shape of a beautiful princess, like the nymph before described, attempts to seduce the hero by all the allurements of voluptuousness, which he resists at length by the assistance of the guardian spirit, and leaves the island, where he had almost been induced to settle, mistaking it for the western isle described to him in his vision. — In the fourth book, after an invocation to the nymphs of Thames, the virgin Albina is represented conversing with her damsels in Albion ;-her dream, and love of the Tyrian prince, whose image had been shewn to her in a rivulet by the Genius of the isle. The Phænicians, landing in Crete, are received by Baal, who had taken the form of the Cretan king, and discourses to the prince in praise of tyranny, but is confuted by the sage. — The fifth book represents a nation in peace; a meeting, raised by the instigation of Baal, is appeased; arts, manufactures, and sciences begin to flourish. As the Tyrians sail along the coast of the Mediterranean, the sage, at the request of Britan, describes to him the state of Greece, Italy, and the Gauls, and relates rather obscurely, by way of prophecy, the future glory and decline of Athens and Rome. ---The Phænicians reach the streights, at the opening of the sixth book. The evil spirits assemble, and determine, since most of their stratagems had failed, to attack them by violence. Dagon raises a tempest and a great commotion in the elements, so that the whole fleet is covered with darkness : Ramiel encourages the prince, and, pretending to retire from danger on account of his age, summons, a legion of genii, or benevolent angels, and engages the evil spirits in the air. Nisroc, in hopes of intimidating Britan, appears to him in all his horrors; the prince expostulates with him,
and darts a javelin at the spirit, but is seized by Mammon, and carried in a cloud to a distant part of the globe ; upon which, Ramiel, whose power may be supposed to be limited, and who might think that the virtue of the prince should be put to a severe trial, leaves him for a time, and flies, in his own shape, to the mansion of the beneficent genii. — The seventh book is wholly taken up with a description of the opposite hemisphere, to which the prince is conveyed by Mammon, whose palace and treasure are described; the Tyrian chief is almost tempted to desist from his enterprise, and to reside in America with the adorers of Mammon : the inconveniences of an oligarchy displayed. The evil spirits being dispersed, light returns to the Tyrians, who find themselves in the ocean, but, missing their leader and the sage, dispute about the regency, and are on the point of separating ;-the danger of anarchy: at length having an admiral and a commander, they land on the coast of Gaul, at the beginning of the eighth book. Nisroc incites the king of that country to attack them; hence is deduced the origin of the national enmity between the English and French. The guardian spirits assemble; their speeches; the genius of Albion proposes to conduct Albina to the palace of Mammon, in order to rouse the hero from his inactivity. - In the ninth book, the war in Gaul is supported with alternate success, and various heroes distinguish themselves on both sides by their valour or virtue. Moloch contrives an enchanted valley between the Gallic city and the Phoenician camp,
which distresses the Tyrians extremely, who, despairing of the prince's return, are encouraged and assisted by Ramiel. - In the tenth book, the genius appears to Albina, relates to her the situation of Britan, and passes with her disguised like young warriors, through the centre of the earth; they rise on a sudden in the gardens of Mammon, and discover themselves to the prince, who returns with them to Europe. — The malevolent spirits, thus baffled in all their attempts, debate, in the eleventh
book, upon taking more vigorous measures, and resolve to hazard a decisive battle with the guardian angels. The war in Gaul continued ; a bloody combat; the Tyrians put to flight: Britan and Albina appear and rally them; the evil deities defeated ; Gaul subdued; the Phænicians pass the enchanted valley. - In the last book, the victorious army march along the coast of France, till they discern the rocks of Albion ; upon which, they embark and cross the channel, attended by the invisible genii, who sit in the sails. The nuptials of Britan, who gives his name to the island, with Albina, that is, in the more hidden sense, of royalty with liberty. The Tyrians choose their brides among the other nymphs. Ramiel conducts the king and queen of Britain to the top of a high mountain, since called Dover Cliff, whence he shews them the extent of their empire, points to its different rivers, forests, and plains, foretels its future glory, and, having resumed his celestial form, Aies to heaven ; the hero and nymph descend from the mountain astonished and delighted.
The daring chief who left the Tyrian shore,
boldest strain. Thro' dire alarms,
THE Phænicians having landed near Tartessus, are unkindly received by the natives; their leader, BRITAN, sends Phenix and Hermion, as his ambassadors, to the king of Iberia, who treats them with indignity, rejects the proffered union, and commands them to leave his coast. In the mean time, the prince of Tyre wanders, to ineditate on his destined enterprise, into a forest; where his attendant spirit appears to him in the character of a Druid, warns him of approaching dangers, and exhorts him to visit in disguise the court of king Lusus; he consents ; is conducted to the banks of the Tagus, with a harp and oaken garland; and is hospitably entertained by the sovereign of Lusitania, who prevails on him to relate the history of his life and fortunes. The narrative begins from his vision of ALBIONE in the groves of Tyre, and his consultation of the Memphian sages, to his arrival in Greece. He visits DIDO, his father's sister, then employed in building Cartkage. A debate between Phenix and the Carthaginian chiefs on the best possible form of government.