« AnteriorContinuar »
576. “ Mould.” Substance, “ stone." 661. Here, and all through the book, See note on 517.
Milton inculcates a great moral, by shew580. Bentley reads held here for ing that the pain and weakness of the " stood," to prevent the awkward repe- rebel angels were the consequence of tition of “stood."
their sinning.-(Th.) 584. Compare Orl. Furios. ix. 75.-(T.) 666. Statius, Theb. viii. 412:
586. The lexicographers give only “ Exclusere diem telis, stant ferrea cælo two meanings for embowel ;- to eviscerate Nubila, nec jaculis arctatus sufficit æther." or gut; and, to bury, to enclose or sink
But how poor is the idea of a shade of one thing in another. Johnson quotes arrows compared to a shade of hurled this passage as an example of the first mountains !-(N.) meaning. Pearce supposes the construc- 669. So Jupiter interposes in the Iliad, tion to be, “whose roar tore the air viii. 130, to prevent ruinous consequences. embowelled (filled) with outrageous noise Ενθα κε λοιγος εην, και αμηχανα εργα γενοντο... and all her entrails.” Newton says the Ει μη αρ' οξυ νοήσε πατηρ ανόρων τε θεων τε. most natural construction is, “whose roar
(N.) embowelled (or filled) the air with out- 674. “ Advised," advisedly. The parrageous noise." But then, he admits that ticiple is frequently in the classics used it may be objected, that this is as much adverbially.-(R.) as to say, that the roar filled the air with 679. “ Assessor." Christ is so called roar. He says then that the property of by some of the old fathers, Ocov trapedpos. a thing is put here for the thing itself, the -(N.) roar of the cannon for the cannon them- 681. i. e. In whose face what is invisible selves, as, ii. 654,“ a cry of hell-hounds," (viz. what I am by deity) is beheld visibly; is put for the hell-hounds themselves ; Messiah being “the image of the invisible and the roar of cannon may as properly be God,” Coloss. i. 15.-—"Invisible," a neuter said to embowel the air with outrageous adject. for a substantive.-(P., N.) See noise, as a cry of hell-hounds to bark. iii. 385. But it would seem that both understand 691. This means that the manner in “ embowelled” to mean filled, which it which sin was wrought was insensible or does not I think the adjunct "out- imperceptible, not the effects of it-(N.) rageous," as expressive of extreme vio- 693. So Hesiod. Theog. 635.-(St.) lence, prevents the tautology complained 709. See Psalm xlv. 7.-(N.) of; and that “ embowelled" is to be 711. See note on 833, and iii. 394. understood here as Johnson understands 713. See Psalm xlv. 3, 4. How supeit—"the roar of the cannon embowelled rior is this to the injunction of Achilles (gutted, emptied) the air with its out- to Patroclus ! Il. xvi. 64.-(T.) rageous noise, and tore all her entrails." 732—4. In allusion to 1 Cor. xv. 24, Thus, so far from tautology, there is a 28; John xvii. 21, 23; Psalm cxxxix. 21. sort of climax.
-(N.) 599. “Serried.” Compact, as if locked 737. “ These rebelled." These who together. See i. 548.
have rebelled; these rebellious. This 625. “ Understand” is here used equi
remarkable word is taken in the unusual vocally, by way of pun on the original sense of rebellatus (particip. depon.) used meaning of the word. So Shakspeare, by Val. Maxim. b. ix. c. 10, n. 1. Two Gent. of Verona, act ii. sc. 5:
739. 2 Pet. ii. 4; Mark ix. 44.-(T., H.) “ My staff me understands."—(Johns.)
740, 741. “ Thy obedience. . .whom,
i. e. the obedience of thee whom, &c. This 635. Æn. i. 150:
mode of expression, in which the relative " Furor arma ministrat."
refers to the substantive or personal pro642. So Ezekiel i. 14.-(D.)
noun, understood out of the adjective or 646. See Hesiod, Theog. 673.—(T.)
passive pronoun, Milton occasionally 656. “Their armour helped their harm."
adopts in imitation of the ancient classic Fairy Queen, I. ii. 27.
writers. So Cic.: “ omnes fortunas meas
(scil. mei) laudare, qui filium tali ingenio " That erst him goodly arm'd, now most of all him harm'd."-(N.)
746. This description of the Messiah's 658. The irregular and painfully labo- going out against the rebel angels is a rious motion of this verse, which contains scene of the same sort with Hesiod's twelve syllables, is well designed to ex- Jupiter against the Titans.-(Th.) Milpress the sense.
ton, by continuing the war for three days,
and reserving the victory upon the third to the Messiah alone, alludes to the circumstances of his death and resurrection. -(Gr.)
750. This description of the chariot is copied from the vision of Ezekiel i. and x. which the reader must consult.
758. Another reading is “whereon," i. e. on which firmament, (“the likeness of the firmament on the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal...and above the firmament was the likeness of a throne," Ezek. i. 22, &c.) and a full stop at “ arch.”
761. “ Urim.” Urim and Thummim were something in Aaron's breastplate ; what they were, critics are by no means agreed. It is most probable that “Urim,' which signifies light, and “Thummim," perfection, were only names given to signify the clearness and certainty of the Divine answers, (which were obtained by the high priest consulting God, with his breast-plate on,) in contradistinction to the obscure and imperfect answers of the heathen oracles.-(N.) I think Milton, by applying the word “Urim” to “panoply,” evidently agreed with the opinion of their being precious stones. Josephus, (Antiq. iii. 8,) and other authors, say they were the precious stones of the high priest's breast-plate (on which were engraven the names of the twelve tribes) which, by the nature of their lustre, discovered the will of God to him. Epiphanius and Suidas think they were epithets of a diamond of extraordinary splendour on the pectoral (in addition to the twelve stones), from whose shining the high priest drew his inferences. God was consulted by Urim and Thummim only on occasions of public interest to the church or state. The high priest then stood not in the sanctuary, where he could enter only once a year, but in the holy place or temple, before the curtain that parted the sanctum from the sanctuary, with his face towards the ark of the covenant. They were twelve different precious stones, ranged in four rows; each stone set in gold, and having the name of a tribe on it. See Exod. xxviii, and Calmet's Dictionary of the Bible.
762. Victory is thus personified by Shakspeare, Rich. III. act v. sc. 3:
“ Victory sits on our helms "-(T.); and by Juvenal, Sat. viii. 63:
“Rara jugo victoria sedit." 766. “ Bickering." A Welsh word, bicre, signifying to skirmish. This
thought is taken from Psalm xvii. 8. i. 3.-(H.)
767-9. See Jude 14; Psalm lxviii. 17; Rev. vii. 4.-(N.)
771. See Psalm xviii. 10.-(Gr.).
779. See Rom. xii. 5; Col. i. 18.— “We being many, are one body in Christ
. He is the head of the body.”-(Gr.)
787. Virg. Æn. ii. 354:“ Una salus victis, nullam sperare salutem." Quintus Curtius, v. 4: “Ignaviam quoque necessitas acuit, et sæpe desperatio spei causa est.”—(N.) 788. Virg. Æn. i. 11:
“ Tantane animis cælestibus iræ." Read a
note of interrogation after “ dwell."
791. So Moses said of Pharaoh, Exod. xiv.--(H.)
801. So in Exod. xiv. 13, 14.-(Gil.) 808. So Rom. xii. 19.-(N.)
808, 809. i.e. It is decreed that this day's work shall not be performed by many. I think there is a climax intended ; “multitude” conveying the idea of more persons than "number” does.
832. “ Gloomy as night.” Homer, Il. xii. 462, applies these words to Hector when he fiercely dashed through the gate of the Grecian rampart :
ο δ' αρ' εσθoρε φαιδιμος Εκτωρ, Νυκτι θοη αταλαντος υπωπια: λαμπε δε χαλκο Σμερδαλεω.........πυρι δ' οσσε δεόγει.-(Ν.)
832, 833. See Job xxvi. 11; Dan. vii. 9. So Hesiod, Theog. 841:Ποσσι δ' υπ' αθανατοισι μεγας πολεμιζετ’ ΟλυμΟρνυμονον ανακτος, επεστεναχιζε δε γαια.
(H., T.) 838. An allusion to Homer, Il. xv. 322:
- τοισι δε θυμον Εν στηθεσσιν εθελξε λαθοντο δε θουριδος αλκης.
(Stil.) 842. So Rev. vi. 16. This is the bold painting of Æschylus, Prom. Vinct. 356:-Εξ ομματων δ' αστραπτε γοργωτον σελας.-(Τ.)
853. This is superior to Hesiod, who makes Jupiter, on a like occasion, exert all his strength. Theog. 687.-(N.)
856. “ As a herd of goats or timorous flock.” It may seem strange that, after so many sublime images, our author should introduce so low a comparison as this. But it is the practice of Homer. In the second book of the Iliad, after a splendid description of the Grecians going forth to battle, and amidst the glare of several noble similes, they are
compared, for their number, to "flies about a shepherd's cottage when the milk wets the pails.” So, after comparing Agamemnon to Jove, to Mars, and to Neptune, he compares him again to a bull. (So he compares Ajax to an ass.) But we may observe, to the advantage of Milton, that this low simile is not applied, as Homer's are, to those whom he meant to honour, but to the contrary party; and the lower the comparison, the more it expresses their defeat and disgrace. Above all this, there is the greater propriety in the similitude of “goats” particularly, as our Saviour represents the wicked under the same image, just as the good are called sheep. Matt. xxv. 33: “ And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”—(N.) There are several conjectures as to the application of “ timorous flock” here. I think the most natural way is to consider that Milton, by putting the words generally, meant to leave the comparison to the reader's judgment.
859. The Furies of mythology were avenging tormentors. Perhaps Milton had in mind the Orestes of Euripides tormented and pursued by Furies.-(D.) 862. Compare Il. xii. 52:
απο γαρ δει δισσετο ταφρος Ευρεια.
(Stil.) 868. “Ruining." Tumbling down with precipitation and ruin. See Gier. Liber. ix. 39.—( Th.) So ruit ælher, 1 Georg. 324. Senec. Hippol. 674.
871. See Hesiod, Theog. 681, 722, &c. —(T.)
874. So Isaiah v. 14.-(N.)
893. He repeats the same apology for these bold fictions as he made in the beginning, (see v. 575;) and concludes the book with a solemn dignity, befitting the close of such a scene.-(N., T.)
900. Observe the remarkable construction: “he," the nominative case, is put in apposition to “ Satan,” the ablative.
Longinus has observed that there may should consider how Homer would have be a loftiness in sentiments, when there is spoken on such an occasion. Thus one no passion; and has brought instances great genius often catches the flame from out of ancient authors to support his opi- another, without copying servilely after nion. The pathetic, he says, may animate him. Milton, though his own natural and inflame the sublime, but is not essen- strength of genius was capable of furnishtial to it. Milton has shown himself a ing out a most perfect work, has raised master in both these ways of writing. and ennobled his conceptions by such an The seventh book is an instance of that imitation as that recommended by Lonsublime which is not mixed and worked ginus. In this book, the poet received with passion. The author appears in a but very few assistances from heathen kind of composed and sedate majesty ; writers, who were strangers to the wonand though the sentiments do not give so ders of creation. But as there are many great an emotion as those in the former glorious strokes of poetry upon this subbook, they abound with as magnificent ject in Holy Writ, he has numberless ideas. The sixth book, like a troubled allusions to them through the whole ocean, represents greatness in confusion; course of this book. The great critic the seventh affects the imagination like Longinus, though an heathen, has nothe ocean in a calm, and fills the mind ticed the sublime manner in which the of the reader without producing in it any lawgiver of the Jews has described the thing like tumult or agitation. Among creation in the first chapter of Genesis ; the rules which Longinus lays down for and there are many other passages in succeeding in the sublime, he proposes Scripture which rise up to the same maan imitation of the most celebrated au. jesty where this subject is touched upon. thors who have been engaged in similar Milton has shown his judgment very reworks; and particularly in poetry, one markably in making use of such of these as were proper for his poem, and in duly pure air which she had so highly temqualifying those high strains of Eastern pered ; and now he requests of her to poetry, which were suited to readers whose convey him to his native element with imaginations were set to an higher pitch equal safety, that he may with equal sucthan those of colder climates. The beau- cess describe the creation of this world ties of description in this book lie so thick, and of man. that it is impossible to enumerate them 20. The story of Bellerophon is told in these remarks. The poet has employed in the Iliad, vi. 190. Being a man of on them the whole energy of our tongue. extraordinary bravery and beauty, he The several great scenes of the creation excited the love of Antaa the wife of rise up to view one after another in such Prætus, king of the Argives, at whose a manner, that the reader seems present court he was a guest. Like Joseph in at this amazing work, and to assist in the holy writ, he rejected her corrupt solicichoirs of angels who are the spectators of tations. She, through revenge, then it.-(Ad.)
falsely accused him of an attempt on her 1. “ Descend from heaven, Urania.” honour to her husband; who, restrained So, Hor. iii. Od. iv. l:
by the laws of hospitality from putting
him to death, sent him on a feigned em“ Descende cælo..... Calliope."
bassy to his father-in-law Jobates, king But here the invocation is better applied, of Lycia, with a letter detailing his supas now his subject leads him from heaven posed offence, and requesting of him to to earth; and “Urania” (ovpavia, i.e. hea- contrive his death. Hence the phrase, venly,) was the muse whose province em- carrying Bellerophon's letters," i.e. a braced celestial subjects. Here he invokes message fatal to oneself. Jobates, having the heavenly muse, as he did in the be- hospitably entertained him nine days as ginning of the first book ; and as he said the ambassador of a friendly sovereign there that he “ intended to soar above before he opened the letter, on seeing its the Aonian Mount,” so here he says that contents, felt also restrained from putting he effected what he intended, and soars him to death, but sent him on a number " above the Olympian hill, above the of most perilous enterprises. Bellerophon flight of Pegasian wing," or higher than was victorious in all these; which so Bellerophon mounted, or Pegasius soared; pleased the king that he gave him his i. e. that his subject was more sublime daughter in marriage, and named him his than the loftiest flight of any heathen successor. In his old age, however, he poet.—(N.)
became melancholy mad, and "wandered 6. Tasso, in his invocation, has a simi- the Aleian field alone, wasting away his lar sentiment, Gier. Liber. i. 2.-( Th.) spirit, avoiding the path of men:"The muses are called by Homer, (Il. ii.
Αλλ' ότε δη κακεινος απηχθετο πασι θεοισιν 491,) Ολυμπιαδες. Olympus is called Ητοι ο καππεδιον τ' Αληιον οίος αλατο old, as the Euphrates is, (i. 420,) and “Ον θυμον κατεδων, πατον ανθρωπων αλεεινων. Mount Casius, (ii. 593,) i. e. famed of It is added by others, that endeavouring old.-(N.) Bentley substitutes Par- to mount up to heaven on the winged nassus for “Olympus ;” but Olympus is horse Pegasus (the steed of the Muses), right, for the meaning is- I call thee, he fell on the Aležan plain, where he wanUrania, not from the ovpavos (or heaven) dered till he died. Newton remarks, of the Greeks, which was Olympus, for “The plain truth of this story seems to be, thou wast heavenly born even before that in his old age he grew mad with his Olympus appeared.-(P.)
poetry, which Milton begs may never be 10. See Prov. viii. 24, &c. where the his own case." I rather think the explasame is said of Wisdom.-(N.)
nation of the fable is, that Bellerophon's 14–16. This is said, Newton thinks, poetic flight was unsuccessful, and that in reference to the difficulty of breathing this caused his melancholy; and that on the top of very high mountains, in Milton here prays that he may not be so consequence of the rarefaction of the air
unsuccessful. It is questionable whether there. Urania gently tempered or mol- Aleian is derived from a, not, and delov, lified the air, that he could breathe it crop, meaning, the barren plain; or from in the empyreum, or highest heaven. aluoua, to wander, meaning, the plain of Dunster explains the passage as expres- wandering. Each opinion is supported sive of his confidence of success. Under by high authority. The latter I think the guidance of Urania he ascended the preferable. empyreum safely, and there breathed the 21. “ Half remains unsung," i.e. half
of the episode, the part relating to the 52. “ Muse," musing, meditation. creation of the world and of man; not 59. “ Repealed," ended, as a law when half of the poem, as some imagine, for repealed is ended.-(P.) these words were here introduced in the 61. “ Led on." This is the subject to first edition, in which there were only ten “proceeded,” 69.-(N.) books.-“ Narrower bound,” bound or 72. “Divine interpreter." So Mercury, confined more narrowly.-(R., N.) to whom Milton before likened Raphael,
26, &c. See the Life of Milton. All is called “ interpres divum,” by Virgil, the critics agree in praising the beauty of Æn. iv. 373.-(N.) the repetition and turn of words here ; and 79. To observe the will of God, is the in saying that the passage has reference end for which we were created.-(N.) to his own persecution, and the profligacy 83. “Seemed," (visum est,) seemed fit. of the court of Charles II. The poetic 88. Which yields space to all bodies, allusion here is to Orpheus the son of and again fills up the deserted space, so Calliope, torn to pieces by the Bacchanals as to be subservient to motion.-(R.) on Mount Rhodope in Thrace, because The air is not only ambient, or surroundhe attempted to check their licentious- ing all the earth, but is interfused, or ness. Orpheus by his melody was said to flowing into, and spun out between all be able to move trees and stones (see bodies.-(N.) Hor. i. Od. xii.); hence the words, 94. “ Absolved," completed. In the " where rocks and woods had ears to occasional sense of the Latin absolvo.rapture.” Instances of such repetitions (R.) are to be met with in some of the best 98, &c. Thyer and others have repoets. Homer, II. xx. 371:
marked, that this passage is a proof of Τον δ' εγω αντιος ειμι, και ει πυρι χειρας εoικεν,
Milton's consummate skill in the art of Ει πυρι χειρας εοικε, μενος δ' αιθωνι σιδηρω. poetry. He need only tell the angel that Il. xxii. 127 :
there was time enough for him to tell the
story, which he would be delighted to Τω αοριζεμενοι, ατε παρθενος ηίθεος τε, Παρθενος ηιθεος τε αοριζετον αλληλοισιν
hear; but in place of this, the poet spins
out ten lines of exquisite beauty in making Virgil, Æn. vii. 586 :
the request. Homer, though far less “ Ille velut pelagi rupes immota resistit,
beautifully, represents Alcinous, Odyss. Ut pelagi rupes, magno venienti fragore."
xi. 373, as inducing Ulysses to relate the See verses 182, 184, 187, of this Book.
story of his travels, by telling him it was 31. He had Horace in view, i. Sat. x.
yet far from dawn. 73:
neque te ut miretur turba, labores, Νυξ δ' ήδε μαλα μακρη, αθεσφατος ουδε πω ωρη Contentus paucis lectoribus."-(N.)
Ενδειν εν μεγαρω, συ δε μοι λεγε θεσκελα έγρα,
Και κεν ες ηω διαν ανασχoιμην. . 32. In imitation of the heathen divines, who used to utter their verses only to the
Newton further remarks, that Milton had pure. Thus in Fragm. Orph. :
both scriptural authority, in the sun's
standing still at the command of Joshua, Φθεγξομαι oις θεμις εστι, θυρας δ' επιθεσθε βe
and classical precedents for this suspenβηλοις Πασιν όμως.-(Cal.)
sion of the laws of nature. Virgil (Ecl. So Hor. iii. Od. i.
viii.) representing the charms of the music “ Odi profanum vulgus et arceo."
of Orpheus, says the rivers stopped :38. "Fail not thou who thee implores," “ Et mutata suos requierunt-flumina cursus." i. e. fail thou not him who implores thee.
Pearce proposes to point the passage A pure classical idiom; the antecedent of
thus:the relative is suppressed frequently in Greek authors; and in Latin sometimes, “Much of his race though steep; suspense in
heaven, in imitation of the Greek.
Held by the voice, thy potent voice, he hears." 42, 43. “ To beware apostasy." The accusative case is here used after the i. e. " held by thy potent voice, he hears neuter verb “ beware," though it is an suspense in heaven;" he stops and listens unusual construction; just as cavere in attentively; for after it is said, “ he is Latin has sometimes an accusative after held in suspense in heaven by thy voice," it; the preposition being understood, it is low to say " he hears thy voice," as strictly speaking, in all such cases. This he must hear it before he can be held by understood force of the preposition gives it. Newton, Todd, and others, adopt this such verbs an active or transitive force.