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selected to express the present character of Satan.-( Th.) 104. So Homer, Il. iii. 15:
- σχεδον ησαν επ' αλληλοισιν ιοντες. See Gier. Liber. xx. 31.
107. “ The cloudy van.” At first sight the idea conveyed by the word “cloudy' appears to contradict what was stated before (80,82, 102) of the "splendour" of their appearance. But in fact there is no contradiction. That “splendour" was caused by the nature of the combatants themselves, who were spirits of fire, and by their burnished arms; and the cloudiness here is caused by the denseness of the moving masses, that threw, as it were, a shade about them. So Par. Reg. ii. 32, 36:" The field, all iron, cast a gleaming brown,
Nor wanted clouds of foot." There is a passage in Homer (Il. iv. 274) which Milton, I think, must have recol. lected, and which illustrates this view:Τω δε κορυσσεσθην, άμα δε κνεφος είπετο πεζων Δηιον ες πολεμον, πυκιναι κινυντο φαλαγγες, Κνανεαι, σακεσιν τε και εγχεσι πεφρικυιαι.
108. See note on i. 276.
111. Æn. ii. 467:“Non tulit hanc speciem furiata mente Choræ.
113. Thus Homer represents Hector, before his encounter with Achilles, Il. xxii. 98, communing with his own courageous soul :Οχθησας δ' αρα ειπε προς ον μεγαλητορα θυμον. Such soliloquies at the beginning, and even in the midst of battles, are often used by the ancient poets to describe the workings of the mind; they fix the reader's attention, make the action more solemn, and give variety. See N.
115. “Realty" here means loyalty ; reale. Italian, signifying loyal.-(P.)
118. “ Boldest." This word is to be here taken in an ill sense, to signify an impudent, presumptuous display of courage. See Johnson's and Richardson's Dictionaries.
127. So Menelaus, when he espies his great enemy Paris stalking in front of the arined lines, steps forth to meet him. 11. iii. 21 :Τον δ' ως ουν ενοησεν αρηϊφιλος Μενελαος Ερχομενον προπαροιθεν όμιλου, μακρα βιβωντα.
(Stil.) 135. “Fool.” An ejaculation used on a similar occasion in Homer, Il. ii. 38:
Νηπιος ! ουδε τα ηδη α ρα Ζευς μηδε το εργα. See Tasso, c. iv. st. 2.--(N.)
136. Read a semicolon after "arms." 137. See Matt. xxvi. 53.-(N.)
147. “Sect." The commentators imagine that Milton here intended a sneer at the loyalists of his time, who branded all the dissenters, of whom he was one, and who were the fewer in number, with the name of sectaries. I do not think he had any such petty design : but that he uses “sect" here (as he often uses words) in the signification of the Latin secta, which is opinion; and hence means a party, as “ Cæsaris secta." See Facciolati.
150. “ Il for thee." Unluckily for thyself thou returnest.
160. “ To win from me some plume." The meaning of this phrase is obviousto gain some memorial of victory. But the origin of it I cannot trace. Perhaps it refers to a custom in Hungary, where a plume in the bonnet, the distinguishing mark of the nobles, was only to be worn by him who slew, or at least defeated, his enemy; each additional victory giving a claim to wear an additional feather: hence our phrase, “ It is a feather in his cap."
161. “Success." See note on ii. 9. That thy ill success may point out destruction to the rest of thy fellows.
167. “ Minist'ring spirits." This is spoken in derision ; spirits who are serrants. Compare this passage with that of Virgil, Æn. ix. 615:“ Desidiæ cordi ; juvat indulgere choreis ...
O vere Phrygiæ, neque enim Phryges! ite
sinite arma viris, et cedite ferro."-(N.) Read a comma after “ serve " before.
172. Somewhat like Il. xix. 107 :-
(Th.) 181. So Hor. ii. Sat. vii. 81:“ Tu mihi qui imperitas aliis servis miser ... Quisnam igitur liber ? sapiens; sibi qui im
periosus." See Aristotle's Politics, b. i. c. 3 and 4.(N.)
183. This is said by way of anticipation, or prolepsis.
187. So Ascanius, in Virgil, retorts his adversary's reproach, Æn. ix. 635, alluding to 599:"Bis capti Phryges hæc Rutulis responsa remit
tunt"-(N.) 189. “Saying" is here a monosyllable. He made the stroke while in the act of speaking:-(N.)
190. “ Which hung not." "Hung" here is used, as pendere sometimes is, to signify remaining stationary overhead, as "aves pendent, nubila pendent."
193. “Ruin." In the primary sense a genitive case; as Aristophanes, in Plut. of ruina, a swift and violent descent ac- 268 : Ω χρυσoν αγγειλας επων, «O thou companied with injury.
who tellest me a gold of words," for golden 194, 195. Compare Homer, Il. v. 308 : words. So Sydney's Arcadia, p. 2,
--αυταρ όγ' ήρως “ opening the cherry of her lips," for her Eστη γνυξ εριπων, και ερεισατο χειρι παχειη cherry lips. See T. Ταιης ---.
223—227. The syntax of this obscure Hesiod (Scut. Herc. 421,) compares sentence, which the commentators have Cygnus to an oak, or towering cliff, fall- not noticed, I take to be, “Of how much ing when struck by a thunderbolt. But
greater power (than an individual angel, Spenser's description of the fall of the old however mighty) to raise, &c. was army dragon, Fairy Queen, I. xi. 54, is more against army numberless (of such angels) to the point, though much inferior :- warring: and they would have destroyed it, ** So down he fell, as an huge rocky clift, had not, &c."; such an ellipsis is necesWhose false foundation waves have washed sary to explain “had not the eternal away,
King overruled ;” and is warranted by With dreadful poise is from the mainland rift."-(St., Th.)
670, 671. Milton, in imitation of the 203. “ The vast of heaven." This is
ancient classics, occasionally uses such
an ellipsis. an elegant Latinism, similar to opaca 232. Each single warrior, though led locorum, strata viarum,” (Virg. Æn. ii.
in fight, was as expert as a commanderand 1.) Shakspeare uses the words, "vast
in-chief. So the angels are celebrated, of night,” Tempest, act i. sc. 2.
first for their numbers, then for their 209–211. What daring figures are
strength, and lastly for their expertness here! Every thing is animated. The
in war.-(N.) But what strikes me as very chariot-wheels are mad and raging ;
the main difficulty, the application of and how admirably do these rough verses
“though" before, I do not find noticed. bray the horrible discord they would de
Does it mean that God limited their scribe! “Bray” was applied to any loud
might, though so numerous, and indivi. harsh noise. Fairy Queen, 1. viii. 11 :
dually powerful and experienced ; or that, " He loudly bray'd with beastly yelling sound." though so numerous, yet each individual Shakspeare, Hamlet, act i.:
was as powerful as a whole legion, and “The kettle drum and trumpet thus bray out
appeared as experienced as a leader ? The triumph of his pledge."—(N., Johns.)
236. “ The ridges of grim war.” A 212–214. Bentley thinks that Milton
metaphor taken from a ploughed field;
the rows of men answer to the “ridges," was hurried away by poetic fury in this
which here mean the ranks and the files ; sublime passage to be regardless of pro
the ranks are the rows from flank to flank, priety and syntax, as it is incorrect to is the hiss flew and vaulted," and pro.
or from left to right; the files are from say,
front to rear.-(R.) Homer often uses poses to read “ with dismal hiss the fiery darts," &c. But Pearce observes, that
the words πολεμοιο γεφυρας, the bridges
of the war, or battle, which are applied to there is a peculiar force sometimes in
the intervals between the lines.—"No ascribing, as here, that to a circumstance of a thing, which more properly belongs
thought of flight." So Il. xxiv. 216 :to the thing itself; that to the “hiss,” - ουτε φοβου μεμνημενον ουτ' αλεωρης. which belongs to the “darts.” “Hiss of
239. “ Moment.” In the Latin sense darts” is a poetic way of speaking for
of momentum, that which gives a preponhissing darts. So ii. 654: "A cry of
derance to one scale. So x. 45. The hell hounds never ceasing barked,” is the
thought, which is afterwards more fully same as crying hell hounds never ceasing
developed in the words, “in even scale barked. So vii. 66: “ As one whose
the battle hung," is exemplified by a padrought still eyes the stream,” for “
rallel passage in Homer, Îl. xii. 433: who droughty eyes.” So Virgil, Æn. iv. 132:
Αλλ' εχον ωστε ταλαντα γυνη....
Ως μεν των επι ισα μαχη τετατο πτολεμος τε. -"ruunt equites et odora canum vis,"
(N.) where what is proper to the dogs is said 242. Read a comma after “various ;'' of their scent. Upton, in his Critical for the syntax is, the war was sometimes Observations on Shakspeare, says, the a standing fight on the ground, and then substantive is sometimes to be classically again tormented all the air. In order to construed as an adjective, when governing comprehend the full force of the word
* tormented” here, we must, I think, look to the root of the word, which is tormentum, an engine used in ancient warfare for the projection of destructive missiles.
245. Ην δ αγων ισορροπος. Εurip. Supplic. 706.—(T.)
247. Though Abdiel foiled him before (190), yet Milton seems to think that Satan would have eventually proved an overmatch for him, had not the combat been broken off by the general engagement. — (N.)
250. See Samson Agon. 138.—(T.)
251. “Two-handed sway.” In allusion to the two-handed sword used in the Gothic times.-(N.)
255. Tasso (vii. 82) mentions an adamantine shield; but Milton says, “tenfold adamant.”—(N.)
266. Read a comma after “adherents."
275. So in Tasso, ix. 64, Michael rebukes the infernal spirits who fought against the Christians.-(N.)
282. “ Satan" properly means adversary. Il. xx. 200:
Πηλείδη μη δη επεεσσι γε, νηπντιον ως,
285. Observe the peculiarity of construction here; the substantive “flight” is connected by the conjunction “or" with the infinitive “fall," both depending on “turned." There are similar instances in Milton, in imitation of the classics. Expunge the comma after “me," 286.
298. i.e. Can relate that fight, or to what conspicuous things on earth which may lift, &c. can liken it.—(N.)
306. So Shakspeare, Hen. V. :“For now sits Expectation in the air."-(T.)
313. The conjunction copulative is here omitted before “two planets," as is not unusual in rapid and impassioned descriptions. Some commentators think that the grandeur of this simile is tarnished by the introduction of the notion of the malignancy of the planets in a particular aspect. But I rather think that it is appropriately introduced to express the determined rancour of the combatants' hostility. The notion was ancient one, and made use of in poetry. Todd quotes Beaumont and Fletcher, Span. Curate, act i. sc. 1 :“Now they begin to burn like opposed meteors."
316—319. The meaning and prosaic construction ofthis difficult passage which the commentators have overlooked, is, I think, this:-" They both together, each
with an arm next in power to the Almighty one, lifted up and imminent, (like the Latin imminens, hanging overhead ready to fall) aimed one stroke which might determine (i.e. bring the matter to a terminus or end) and need not repeat (i.e. renew or try it again) as not of power at once (i.e. as if there was not sufficient power in it at once to decide the combat.)" If the stroke had not such sufficient power at once, they should repeat it. But they intended such a blow as had this power to end the matter at once, at the first touch, and required no repetition. Latinisms run through the whole sentence; “ determine” and “repeat” are to be taken here as neuter verbs; repetere in Suetonius is applied to the repetition of a blow. Suet. in Caligul. c. 58 : “ Cæteri vulneribus triginta confecerunt (scil. Caligulam), nam signum erat omnium, Repete.” In Celsus it is the same as redire, b. iv. c. 14: “ Cum morbi repelunt."
320—330. Milton, notwithstanding the vastness of his genius, has drawn to his aid all the helps he could find in the most approved authors. Homer and Virgil give their heroes swords of divine temper; and in 2 Maccabees xv. the Jewish hero receives a sword from Jeremiah the prophet, as the gift of God. Jeremiah also mentions the armoury of God, i. 25. But this sword of Michael seems to be copied from Arthegal's in Spenser's Fairy Queen, V. i. 10. There is a beautiful passage in the Iliad, iii. 363, where the sword of Menelaus in his combat with Paris breaks in pieces; and the line is so contrived that, as Eustathius observes, we not only see the action as it were, but fancy we hear the sound of the breaking:Τριχθα τε και τετραχθα διατρυφεν εκπεσε χειρος. As Virgil in his account of the combat between Æneas and Turnus could not equal this kind of beauty, he has, with great judgment, substituted another, by artfully making breaks in the beginning of the verse, to express the breaking short of the sword of Turnus, when it struck against armour tempered by a god :
Arrectæque amborum acies; at perfidus ensis
- postquam arma dei ad Vulcania ventum est, Mortalis mucro, glacies ceu futilis, ictu
Dissiluit; fulva resplendent fragmina arena." Satan's sword is not broken in fragments like those of Menelaus and Paris, but quite and clean in two; and the dividing
of the sword in two is very well expressed by half a verse. Milton carries on beauties of the same kind to the description of the wound, and the verses seem almost painful in describing Satan's pain. “ Shared,” divided; "griding," cutting ; both used by Spenser in this sense.“Discontinuous," separating the continuity of parts.-( Ad., N., T.)
332. Bentley objects to nectarous," because nectar was the drink of the gods; and proposes ichorous. Pearce replies, that this stream was not of nectarous hu. mour only, but of nectarous humour sanguine, i. e. ichor; besides, ichorous would be a wrong substitute ; for, from its derivation, 1xwp, the middle syllable of it should be long. Homer, v. 339, where Diomede wounds Venus, represents a pure thin kind of liquid, not blood, called ichor, which was not produced from earthly food, issuing from the wound. And though the pain was great, the wound soon closed. Il. v. 339:
ρεε δ' αμβροτον αιμα θεοιο, Ιχωρ, οίος περ τε ρεει μακαρεσσι θεοισιν" Ου γαρ σιτον εδουσ', ου πινουσ’ αιθοπα οινον, Τουνεκ' αναιμονες εισι, και αθανατοι καλεονται.
334. The following passage from Spenser, Fairy Queen, I. v. 9, is quoted by Church and Callender :" The cruel steele so greedily doth bite In tender flesh, that streames of blood down
flow, With which the armes that erst so bright did
show Into a pure vermillion now are dyde."
335. Thus the leaders of the Trojans rescue their chief, Hector, when struck down by Ajax; and convey him to his chariot which stood waiting for him beyond the range of the battle, ll. xiv. 428:
τον δ' αρ' έταιροι Χερσιν αειραντες φερον εκ πονου, οφρ' εκεθ' ιπΩκεας, οί οι οπισθε μαχης ηδε πτολεμοιο Εστασαν, ηνιοχον τε και αρματα ποικιλ’ έχοντες.
(H.) -“Was run by angels," i. e. angels ran. This is a pure Latinism, the neuter verb being used impersonally passive.
348. The same comparison is in Shakspeare, Macbeth, act v.-" As easy may'st thou the intrenchant air With thy keen sword impress, as make me
bleed."-(N.) 350. This is expressed very much like Pliny's account of God, Nat. Hist. b. i. c. 7.-(N.)
355. See note on v. 371.
362. Addison thinks Milton had his eye on Mars when wounded, Il. v. 860, raising a yell loud as ten thousand men in battle, and retiring from the field. Thyer quotes Fairy Queen, I. xi. 20: “The piercing steele then wrought a wound
full wide That with the uncouth paine the monster
loudly cry'd." 363. As Adam did not know Raphael's name, therefore he speaks of himself historically in the third person.—(B.)
365. “ Adramelech." " And the Sepharvites burnt their children in the fire to Adramelech,'' 2 Kings xvii. ; i. e. when they were transplanted to Samaria by Shalmaneser.—(H.) Asmadai,” Asmodeus. See note on iv. 168.
368. “Plate” is the broad solid armour; “ mail" is that composed of small pieces laid one over another like scales of fish or the feathers of fowl. See v. 284.(R.)
371. “ The violence of Ramiel.” So Æn. xi. 376 : “ violentia Turni," the violent Turnus.-( Up.)
386. “The battle swerved.” So Hesiod, Theog. 711: EKĀvon Maxn.-( Th.)
391. " What stood" must be consi. dered in opposition to what " lay overturned" in the preceding line ; and then there is no impropriety in the words being the subject to "recoiled” and “fled.”— (N.)
399. “ Cubic.” Though, strictly, to have been cubic, it must have been as high as it was broad; yet by poetic license it here means four-square only, having that property of a cube to be equal in length on all sides.-(P.) 407. Hor. i. Sat. v. 9:
“Jam nox inducere terris Umbras...... parabat."
(Th.) Foughten field.” Shakspeare, len. V.: “As in this glorious and well foughten field."
(T.) 413. “ Cherubic waving fires," i.e. Cherubim like fires waving; these were the watches. The Cherubim were remarkable for their love and fidelity; hence, they are properly made here the sentinels.
415. So Agamemnon (Il. ix.) after his defeat summons a council by night. -(N.)
417. This speech is much admired. While it artfully flatters the pride of his followers, and holds out to them hopes of future success, it eminently marks his own
unbounded ambition and undaunted resolution, even in the midst of adversities.
432. So Prometheus, (Æsch. Prom. Vinct. 932,) comforts himself against Jupiter :Τι δ' αν φοβoιμην, φθανειν ου μορσιμον.-(TA.) Read a comma after " contemned."
440. “Worse," to worse, a very unusual verb.
None,” no odds being, (case absol.)
447. “Nisroch," a god of the Ninevites, in whose temple Sennacherib was assassinated by his two sons, 2 Kings xix. His speaking afterwards of pain as the greatest of evils, the doctrine of Hieronymus and others, was suitable to the deity of the effeminate Assyrians.-(N.)
455. “ Against unpained, impassive." Against those who feel no pain, and cannot suffer from external causes.
468. i.e. Deserves as great a debt as we would owe for our entire deliverance.
472. “ Which” is the nominative to "surveys,” 476; but as it is so many lines before the verb, he throws in another nominative expressing the same thing, “ whose eye."-(N.) I rather think « which" is the nominative to is understood. Which of us is there who beholds, and whose eye so superficially surveys ? &c. I have noticed already the frequent suppression of the substantive verb in Milton, in imitation of the ancient
521. “ Conscious night.” Ovid. Met. XV. :
“Quorum nox conscia sola est."-(H.) 526. Virg. Æn. v. 113:“Et tuba commissos medio canil æquore ludos.**
(N.) 527. “ Panoply," (Favoria,) complete armour, covering the body from head to foot.
528. “Dawning hills." A beautifully figurative expression, as the dawn first appears from above the hills, and they seem to bring the rising day. See viii. 520.-(N.)
533. Because they had a large train of artillery to draw, which they were anxious to conceal; hence “slow but firm."-(N.)
537. So Sil. Ital. Punic. Bell. v. 98:“ Arma, viri, capite arma, viri; dux instat
This metaphor is used in many languages to express a great multitude. Heb. xii. 1: wa cloud of witnesses.” Hom. Il. iv. 274: νεφος πεξων. Virg. Æn. viii. 793 : “ nimbus peditum."-(N.)
541. “Sad,” (tristis,) grave, sullen, resolute.
542. Thus the leader in the Iliad, ii. 382, directs his warriors in the same way :Ευ μεν τις δορυ θηξασθω, ευ δ' ασπιδα θεσθω, Ευ δε τις ίπποισι δειπνον δοτω ωκυποδεσσι, Ευ δε τις αρματος αμφις ιδων, πολεμοιο μεδεσθω" “Ως κε πανημεριοι στυγερή κρινωμεθ' Αρης, Ου γαρ πανσωληγε μετεσσεται, ουδ' ηβαιον
μη νυξ ελθουσα διακρινεέι μενος ανδρων. “ Adamantine coat." Hor. i. Od. vi --" Martem tunica tectum adamantina."
548. “Impediment." The Latin impedimentum, baggage, in reference to the enemies' artillery.-(N.)
553. Training," drawing in train, from the term train of artillery.-(N.) “ Impaled," encircled.
568. Though this scoffing has been censured as below the dignity of the subject, yet Homer has instances of it. In the 16th book of the Iliad, when Meriones, a Cretan, had nimbly stepped aside to evade the spear of Æneas, Æneas jokes on his dancing powers, the Cretans being famous dancers. So when Patroclus strikes down from the chariot Hector's charioteer, he scoffs at his exhibition as a diver. Here these insulting malignant sneers are quite suited to the character of the devils. -(N., Ģil.)
," froth, foam. He uses “ foam,” 512.
refers to “ materials," as does " which,” 484. Ariosto, (Orl. Fur. ix. 28,) and Spenser, (Fairy Queen, I. vii. 13,) somewhat in the same way describe cannon, and attribute the invention to the devil.-" The deep,” though generally used for hell, is here only used in opposition to surface,” 472, and is the
deep under ground," 478. -(N.)
514. “ Concocted and adusted," i. e. purified and made quite dry by heat, (adustus.) By mistake “ adjusted” has been printed in the text of this edition for “adusted ;" and a comma has been placed after “part,” 516.
517. The stone may have been mentioned here as what they used for “balls;" or perhaps to express more distinctly that the metal of which the “engines" and “balls” were made, was enclosed in, and mixed with a stony substance in the mine.-(P.)