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Loud as from numbers without number, sweet
a fhout loud as &c. Heav'n rung, lasting amarant, which he has finely &c. where the first words are put set near the tree of life. Amaranin the ablative case absolutely. ' tus flos, symbolum eft immortali.
Pearce. tatis. Clem. Alexand. Hume. . 351. down they caft
357. the fount of life, ang Their crowns] So they are repre- river of bliss] The abunsented Rev. IV. 10. The four and dant happiness and immortal joys twenty elders fall down before him of Heaven are in Scripture gethat sat on the throne, and worship nerally express d by the fountain him that liveth for ever and ever, of life and rivers of pleasure: So, and caft their crowns before the Tbou falt make them drink of the throne.
river of thy pleasures, for with thee 353. Immortal amarant,] Ama, is the fountain of life, Psal. XXXVI. rant Auscarlo Greek, for un- 8, 9. For the Lamb which is in the fading, that decayeth not; a flower midst of the throne fall feed them, of a purple velvet color, which and small lead them unto living tho'gather’d, keeps its beauty, and fountains of waters, Rev. VII, 17. when all other flowers fade, reco. and Rev. XXII. 1. He showed me vers its lustre by being sprinkled a pure river of water of life. with a little water, as Pliny affirms,
Hume, Lib. 21. c. 11. Our author seems 359. Rolls o'er Elysian flow'rs to have taken this hint from 1 Pet. ber amber ftream;] Dr. BentI. 4. To an inberitance incorruptible, ley reads Rolls o'er relucent gems undefiled, and that fadeth not away, &c. because (he says) it is not well aldeanlov: and i Pet. V. 4. Pe conceiv'd that flow'rs grow at the ball receive a crown of glory that bottom of a river. But (as Dr. Pearce fadeth not away, apdegi loo:: both replies) Milton's words don't necefrelating to the name of his ever- sarily imply so much; the river
In Paradise, fast by the tree of life, ..
Now might only sometimes roll over Ran nectar, visiting each plant, them, to water them. And yet and fed (says Dr. Pearce) I am rather in- Flow'rs worthy of Paradise. cind to think, that the poet here by over means through or among.
And as there they are flow'rs worthy So Mr. Jortin understands Rolls o'er
of Paradise, so here they are worthy for rolls through or by; and observes of, Elyfum, the region of the Bleithat Horace uses the verb præterire
sed: and he makes use of the same in much the same manner, Od. IV.
anner. Sod. iv. expression in his poem callid L'ALVII. 3.
legro, et decrescentia ripas
From golden slumber on a bed Flumina prætereunt,
Of heap'd Elysian flow'rs. roll by and within their banks. But And then as to his calling it amber if we understand the passage as it stream, it is only on account of its is express'd, there is no kind of ab- clearness and transparency, and fardity in it; for we frequently see not at all on account of its color, grass and weeds and flowers grow. that he compares it to amber. The ing under water : and we may clearness of amber was proverbial therefore suppose the finest flowers among the Ancients; Callimachus to grow at the bottom of the river in his hymn to, Ceres, ver. 29. has of bliss, or rather the river to roll aasxlevrov u f'wp; and in like manover them sometimes, to water ner Virgil says of a river, Georg, them. The author seems to in- III. 522. tend much the same thing that he Purior electro campum petit amnis. has express'd in IV. 240. where speaking of the brooks in Paradise 360. With these that never fade) he fays they
Dr. Bentley reads with this that
Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the bright
never fades, that is amarant. But 364. Impurpled with celestial roles tbese is right, and refers to crowns "Smild.] A word very famiSpoken of in ver. 352. all the in- liar with Spenser from the Italian termediate verses being in a paren- imporporato. Fairy Queen, B. 3. thefis. Milton alludes here to Cant. 7. St. 16. 1 Pet. V. 4. Ye shall receive a crown Oft from the forest wildings he of glory that fadeth not away.
Whose sides impurpled were with Or perhaps these may more probably refer to Elysian flow'rs men
smiling red tion'd in the verse preceding. It Marino Ad. Cant. 4. St. 291. is more natural and easy, and agrees L'Hore spogliando de lor fregi i better with what follows, with their
prati being thrown off in loose garlands, Turbo
Tutto di rose imporporare il Cielo. which it is better to understand of flow'rs than of crowns, which are
Thyer. themselves garlands: but then there 3 72. Thee, Father, first they fung must be no parenthesis, as there is &c.] This hymn seems to be comnone in Milton's own editions. “ pored somewhat in the spirit and
363. - like a sea of jafper mone,] manner of the hymn to Hercules Jasper is a precious stone of fe. in the 8th book of the Æneid ; veral colors, but the green is most but is as much superior as the fubesteem'd, and bears some similitude jeet of the one transcends that of and resembl nce to the sca.
Thee, Father, first they sung Omnipotent,
377. Thron'd inaccesible, but when or trebly shaded by a cloud and
thou foadA] The word but both wings. What then is the full here is the same as except, unless; blaze!
Richardson inaccessible but when thou had f, In like manner Tasso describing that is then only accessible, when the Almighty in Heaven, Cant. 9. thou shad'ft &c. Perhaps Milton St. 57. had in view what Ovid says of Phoebus when his fon Phaeton Quivi ei cosi nel suo splendor s'incame to him, Met. II. 39.
Che v'abbaglian la vista anco i - circum caput omne micantes
più degni. Deposuit radios, propiusque accedere jussit. Pearce.
The same thought in Spenser's
Hymn of heavenly Beauty, but 280. Dark with exceffive bright more languidly express’d,
thy skirts appear,) Milton has the same thought of darkness oc With the great glory of that won. casion'd by glory, V. 599. Bright- drous light ness bad made invisible. This also His throne is all incompassed as explains his meaning here; the ex round, cess of brightness had the effect of Aird hid in his own brightness from darkness, invisibility. What an the sight idea of glory! the skirts only not Of all that look thereon &c. to be look'd on by the beings
Thyer. nearest to God, but when doubly
Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes.
382. Approach not,] So Ovid Met. in Col. I. 15. the firf-borx of ery II. 22.
creature or of all creation, para Confiftitque procul, neque enim x115€ws; and Rev. III. 14. t?* propiora ferebat
ginning of the creation of God. Lumina.
387. Whom else ng creature in but with both wings veil their eyes. behold; ] No creature can So they are represented in Isaiah's otherwise behold the Father but in vision of the throne of God: and through the Son. No man bara
Above it food the Seraphims ; each fien God at any time; the only begins one had fix wings; with twain he ten Son which is in the bosom of cover'd his face, &c. Isa. VI. 2. Father, he hath declared bim, Joha
1. 18. But He that hath feen rely 383. — of all creation forff,] So hash seen the Father, John XIV..,