« AnteriorContinuar »
351. “stupendious.” So in the original texts. The form, now a vulgarism, was once good English.
381. “His quadrature.” Milton has already said of the figure of Heaven, as seen from underneath, that it was “undetermined square or round” (II. 1048 and note there); and, though in the main the fancy of sphericity has served, he here again suggests the alternative of the cubic form. As Hume supposed, he may have had in mind Rev. xxi. 16, where the New Jerusalem is described as “ four-square ;" and Hume also quotes a passage from the mathematician Gassendi (1592-1655) in which he speaks of the notion that the Empyrean Heaven is externally of “a quadrated form.” Milton may have passingly favoured the fancy to distinguish more strongly for a moment the Empyrean from the " orbicular World” underneath it, i.e. Man's Cosmos.
413. “ planet-strook.” See note, Od. Nat. 95.
415. “causey,” still a provincial word for “causeway," and really, as Mr. Keightley has explained, more correct; the word being from the French chaussée, and having nothing to do originally with the English word " way.”
425, 426. “ Lucifer,” etc. See note, vii. 131-135.
427. “the Grand,” the grandees or chiefs, as distinct from the general body.
431-436. “ As when the Tartar,” etc. Images drawn from the recent history of the East. “Astracan” is the country north of the Caspian, over which a Tartar host, repulsed by the Russians, might retreat on their way back to Asia ; and, again, if the Bactrian Sophi (i.e. the Shah of Persia, of which the ancient Bactria was a part, and the ruling dynasty of which from 1502 to and beyond Milton's time was that of the Sofis or Sooffees) were retreating from before the crescent standards of the Turks to his capital Tauris (Tabreez) or to Casbeen (Kasveen) farther inland, he would leave waste the country between himself and the realm of Aladule (i.e. Greater Armenia, the last king of which before its conquest by the Turks was named Aladule). These recollections of maps by a blind man are surprising.
460. “ Thrones, Dominations," etc. Mr. Browne notes the occurrence of this line three times before : v. 601, 772, 840.
477. “unoriginal,” without beginning. 524-526. “ Scorpion, and Asp,” etc. Most of the names here for different kinds of serpents occur, Hume pointed out, in a passage in Lucan (Phars. ix. 700 et seq.).
526-528. “the soil bedropt with blood of Gorgon," i.e. Libya, when Perseus carried the Gorgon Medusa's head through the air to Ethiopia, and the bloody drops made the serpents with which Libya swarms. Ophiusa or Colubrasia (both names meaning “Snake Island ") is now Formentara, south of Iviza.
529. “ Dragon.” Rev. xii. 9.
531. “ Huge Python," i.e. the Serpent bred out of the slime of Deucalion's Flood, and slain by Apollo.
560. “Megæra”: one of the Furies, who had serpents for hair,
561-570.“ like that which grew,” etc. The story of the Dead Sea apples, or apples of Sodom, fair outside, but full of ashes within, had its origin in the fact that there is in that region an apple-like fruit which explodes on pressure.
572. “Whom they triumphed once lapsed," i.e. "over whose single lapse they triumphed.”
580-584. “ And fabled how the Serpent,” etc. In one of the Greek theogonies Ophion (which word implies “Serpent”). and Eurynome (“the wide-ruling ") were the primeval god and goddess, superseded by Kronos and Rhea (called otherwise Saturn and Ops), who again were dispossessed by Jupiter, called Dictæan, because he was brought up on the Cretan mountain Dicte. Milton treats the myth of Ophion and Eurynome as a tradition of the story of the Serpent and Eve kept up among the Heathen by the Devils themselves.
581, 582. " wide-encroaching." A noticeable word here, inasmuch as it is divided between two lines. In the original text, as in ours, there is a hyphen after "wide.”
601. "vast un-hide-bound corpse,” i.e. vast body, not bound tightly by its skin, but with its skin hanging loose about it.
657. “ to the other five,” i.e. to Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
658—661. “ Their planetary motions and aspects, in sextile,” etc. The phrases are all taken exactly from the old Astrology, which recognised five aspects of the planets, each having its peculiar kind of influence on events, —conjunction or synod, sextile, square, trine, and opposition.
668—678. “ Some say,” etc. It is poetically assumed
here that before the Fall the ecliptic or Sun's path was in the same plane as the Earth's equator, and that the present obliquity of the two planes, or their intersection at an angle of 23°, was a modification of the physical Universe for the worse, consequent on the Fall. There were two ways in which the alteration might have been produced ; and Milton states both. Either the axis of the Earth might have been pushed askance the required distance; or the Sun himself might have been compelled to deviate the required distance (“ like distant breadth") from his former path. To indicate what the second would amount to, Milton follows the Sun in the imagined deviation. First he traces him in his ascent north from the equatorial road, through the constellations Taurus and Gemini (in the neck of the former of which are the Pleiades, called “the Seven Atlantic Sisters," as being the daughters of Atlas, while the Gemini are “the Spartan twins," as representing Castor and Pollux, the Spartan Brothers), and so up to his extreme northern distance from the equator at the Crab in the Tropic of Cancer; then he descends with him again, by Leo and Virgo, till he retouches the equator at Libra, or the Scales, merely suggesting the equal vagary southwards beyond the equator as far as the Tropic of Capricorn.
6854687. “ which had forbid the snow from cold Estotiland,” i.e. would have prevented the snow from coming so far from the north pole as to Estotiland (an old name for the part of North America east of Hudson's Bay); “and south as far beneath Magellan”: i.e. and kept the snow from as much of the Earth towards the south pole.
688. “ Thyestean banquet.” Atreus, king of Argos, served up to his brother Thyestes at a banquet the flesh of Thyestes's own sons ; at which horror the Sun turned out of his course.
695-706. “ Norumbega,” in old maps, is the part of the coast of the present United States nearest to Canada. “ The Samoed shore” is the Siberian shore north-east of Russia. From these northern regions blow the cold north winds, viz. Boreas (N.), Cæcias (N. E.), Argestes (N. W.), and Thrascias (N.N. W.). The south winds that encounter them are Notus (S.) and Afer (S. W.), rushing from Sierra Leone and other parts of Africa ; and the hubbub is increased by the crossing of the Levant (“rising” or eastern)
and Ponent (“ setting” or western) winds : viz. Eurus (E.) and Zephyr (W.), Sirocco (S.E.) and Libecchio (S.W.). The names, the studied music of which delighted Milton, are partly classical, partly Italian.
711. - To graze the herb all leaving:” Milton assumes that there were no carnivorous animals, whether fowls, fishes, or beasts, before the Fall; and he has specially mentioned the fishes as then only herbivorous (vii. 404).
741. “ Heavy, though in their place," i.e. though at their proper centre or resting-place, where they ought to have no weight.
783. “lest all 1,” i.e. lest the whole of me, — body and soul together.
792. “ All of me, then, shall die.” This was Milton's own belief, expressed by him most distinctly in his Latin treatise Of Christian Doctrine. He did not adopt the usual doctrine of a distinction between soul and body, but regarded soul and body as bound up with each other and inseparable. Hence, at death, he held, soul dies as well as body; so that after death there is a total cessation or suspension of personal consciousness till the miraculous resurrection, when body and soul shall be revived together. See Memoir, lxvii. lxviii.
795—798. “Be it," etc. The meaning is “granted that it is so,”—i.e. that God's wrath must be infinite, because He is himself infinite, -yet Man, the object of this wrath, is not infinite, but mortal by doom ; and even infinite wrath must come to an end with the death of its object, -- unless death itself were somehow to be made deathless or everlasting.
806-808. “By which all causes,” etc. This was a famous aphorism of the scholastic philosophy, and is the same as the so-called doctrine of “The Relativity of Knowledge,” which declares that things or causes are not known absolutely as they themselves are, but only according to the nature and powers of the minds or sentiencies receiving impressions from them.
861. “ With other echo late I taught,” etc. See V. 202-204.
867. “ Out of my sight, thou serpent.” Compare Sams. Ag. 748, “Out, out, hyæna,” etc.
872, 873. "pretended to hellish falsehood," i.e. stretched in front of hellish falsehood, so as to mask it,
887, 888. “ Well if thrown out,” etc. A reference to the opinion that Adam had been created with a supernumerary rib on his left side, out of which Eve was formed.
898--908. “ For either he never shall,” etc. În not a few passages where Eve is spoken of it is possible to suppose a recollection by Milton of the incidents of his own married life; but in few passages is the personal reference so distinct as in this.
989, 990. In the First, Second, and Third Editions these two lines are printed thus :
“ Childless thou art, childless remaine ;
So Death shall be deceiv'd his glut, and with us two"the first line having two syllables defective of the usual measure, and the second two in excess.
1069. “this diurnal star," i.e. the Sun. Compare Lycid. 168.
1073. " attrite to fire”: made into fire by attrition, —an allusion to the process of obtaining fire by rubbing or striking bodies together.
1075. “Tine”: to light or kindle. The word occurs in Spenser.
1091. “ Frequenting," i.e. filling, in the sense of the Latin frequentare : e.g: “ Italiam coloniis frequentavit.”
10--14. “the ancient pair,” etc. In the classic legend Deucalion and Pyrrha, the survivors from the primeval Deluge, consult the oracle of Themis as to the means of restoring the human race.
15. “nor missed the way,” etc. A reference to 111. 444 et seq., where the Limbo of Fools is described. See particularly line 487 in that passage.
17. “ Dimensicnless”: without length, breadth, or depth, as not being material substances.
28. “manuring.” See note, iv. 628.
99. “ Michael,” etc. Bishop Newton has pointed out that there is a poetical fitness in the selection of Michael for this errand, -first, because Michael was the Archangel of